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Former Manchester City Goalkeeper Blames Guardiola for Exit from Etihad

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By Martin Graham | 30th Mar 2022

Joe Hart, formerly of Manchester City, has opened up on his short time with Pep Guardiola at the Etihad and claimed that the Spaniard took away his City career.

Joe Hart spent 12 years at City between 2006 and 2018, with loan spells to Blackpool, Tranmere Rovers, Birmingham City, West Ham United and Italian club Torino.

He eventually left for Burnley in 2018 and has since played for Tottenham Hotspur again before leaving England altogether to move to Celtic in Scotland.

Hart was one of the first victims of Guardiola’s Manchester City squad reboot after he took charge of the club in 2016. The former England number 1 lost his spot as the Three Lions first choice as a result, and has spoken on a few occasions about how Guardiola contributed to that.

He has recently come out to reveal the exact discussion between him and the former Barcelona manager that spelled the end for him at City.

Hart told In The Stiffs podcast: “I wanted to get in the door and have this conversation. He was very knowledgeable on my background, very knowledgeable on what we did, how I played football, it was a two-hour conversation that kind of ended with him saying ‘I can’t see this working’.

“I said ‘I don’t agree with you’. He said ‘I’ll be the first person to be proved wrong but what I see in you isn’t what I want from my goalkeeper’.

“I was like ‘It’s only fair I be given the opportunity’. He said ‘of course you’ll be given the opportunity, but…’. As soon as there are any ‘buts’ at the end you know there’s a decision.

“I wanted the opportunity to be coached by one of the best at it. Of course I didn’t know how to do it, why would I know how to do something that I’d never been asked to do or taught to do?

“I suppose he was right, I couldn’t do it, he couldn’t just drop me into a team to play like he wanted to at that moment in time. It was taken away from me, but so what?

“I’m not bigger than anyone and if that’s my path then that’s my path. The people of Manchester City will forever be in my heart, I’ll forever be grateful for that, but the team, the hierarchy, they’re businessmen.”

Gundogan talks role at City; says constant role change waters down performance

Elsewhere, Manchester City’s German midfielder Ilkay Gundogan has spoken about his confusion over his actual role under Guardiola at City.

Gundogan has enjoyed success at the Etihad and is one of Guardiola’s trusted generals after arriving from Borussia Dortmund in the same window as Guardiola’s arrival on the Spaniard’s request.

He is also regarded as one of the side’s best footballing brains, and is currently the team’s vice captain. However, the German still claims to be unsure if what exactly his role in the team is, despite having operated expertly in almost every position he has been given.

“Commuting from one position to another is not always beneficial,” Gundogan told German outlet Kicker. “I’ve always been at my best when I know I’m playing the same position week after week and when I know the requirements.

“It is difficult to keep adapting to a new role and having to reorient yourself in different positions. The environment always expects top performance. It’s not that easy sometimes.”

Gundogan notes, however, that he enjoys playing under Guardiola and will do whatever the coach asks because he believes in his ideas while stating that stability could help him perform even better for the team.

“If my coach needs me for a position, I don’t say: I can’t, I feel as comfortable in another. The coach has an idea,” the 31-year-old said. “Sometimes I wish I knew what my position is, week after week. Then I know I’m delivering top performances week after week.”

Martin Graham is an MFF sports writer

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