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Soccer-Hart can secure status as England's top keeper, says Hodgson

Reuters

LONDON, Nov 18 (Reuters) - Joe Hart can draw a line under his poor form and cement his World Cup place when England host Germany in Tuesday's international friendly, manager Roy Hodgson said on Monday.

Hart was dropped by his club, Manchester City, last month after his misjudgment led to defeat at Chelsea, the latest in a series of high-profile errors that has left question marks over England's No 1.

Hodgson gave Celtic's Fraser Forster his senior international debut in the 2-0 friendly defeat by Chile on Friday, but Hart will reclaim the jersey for the visit to Wembley of three-times world champions Germany.

"I am sure (Hart) will respond very well," Hodgson told reporters at England's training base. "He is a proud man and very pleased to be playing for England. We have had no cause to doubt him in the (World Cup) qualifiers and also the Euros (2012 European Championship).

"I wouldn't dream of putting a player in the team after one good game, or dropping him after one game. I can't deny - and Joe wouldn't deny - that this is another chance for him to show that he is a top-class goalkeeper and that he deserves his place, because he will be playing against a very good team that can cause us problems."

Hodgson confirmed his line-up against Germany would feature the return of left back Ashley Cole and the retention - for his second cap after Friday's debut - of Southampton winger Adam Lallana.

Steven Gerrard will captain the side, enabling the Liverpool midfielder to equal the 108 England caps of former defender and World Cup-winning captain Bobby Moore.

Striker Daniel Sturridge has been declared fit despite carrying a thigh strain, and the Liverpool player will partner Wayne Rooney.

Hodgson confirmed he had been sounded out by the German football association about succeeding Berti Vogts as national coach in 1998. "It was a nice approach and a very flattering approach, but it was a long time ago," Hodgson said. "They have got on pretty well without me."

Since then Germany have rebuilt their national side to finish second, third and third in the 2002, 2006 and 2010 World Cups. England's best results in that period were their quarter-final exits in 2002 and 2006. In 2010 they were beaten 4-1 by Germany in the second round.

Hodgson admitted England could not match Germany's recent record, but said he feels his players can prove themselves equal to Joachim Loew's team.

"All the words in the world won't make us better, it is what we do when we cross that white line and get on the pitch," Hodgson said. "We have a very good group of players, and I believe in them and what we are trying to do.

"They (Germany) have a lot to do as well. They are the favourites with Spain to win the World Cup, there is pressure on them in a different way. Our pressure is to prove we can be as good as them." (Writing by Stephen Wood; editing by Justin Palmer)

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