While Fabio Capello is mulling over his goalkeeping options for England, in my mind there is only one choice. Joe Hart deserves to be in Capello's starting XI in England's World Cup opener against United States on Saturday.
Despite only making three appearances for England's senior team, Hart's Premier League credentials are impressive. He helped Birmingham City break their club record of 11 unbeaten games during their 2009-10 campaign. Hart was able to keep a clean sheet against the free-scoring Chelsea, and impressively held both Manchester United and Liverpool to 1-1 draws during the season.
His consistency played a large part in the newly-promoted "Brummies" finishing a surprising ninth in the Premier League. Hart's superb performances "between the sticks" earned him a place in the PFA Team of the Year beating out the likes of Pepe Reina, Petr Cech and Brad Friedel.
Judging by international experience alone, David James would be the clear favorite as he holds 50 caps for England and was picked by Capello in his first 13 matches in charge. The 39-year-old struggled to stay fit during the season but was able to help bottom-table Portsmouth reach the FA Cup final. His age and knee problems may be of greater concern though to the England manager.
Throughout his career, James has always been stuck with the label of being "shaky" and Robert Green was sent off in an October match against Croatia. Green had a difficult season and barely kept West Ham from relegation. Neither possess the positional smarts or athleticism of Hart. What also makes Hart stand out is his commanding presence in net as he projects great confidence and carries a self-assured attitude.
Hart has been tipped by many to be England's future No. 1 and won't be in awe if given the task of England's first choice keeper. His performances against top Premiership clubs shows that he isn't afraid of the big stage. Hart's time has come and he possesses all the qualities needed to be given the opportunity by Capello.