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Former England and Manchester City shot-stopper believes Roberto Mancini's current netminder is the best in the world and can "do much more" than the Spaniard

Former Manchester City and England goalkeeper David James believes Joe Hart is better than Real Madrid's Iker Casillas and is the best shot-stopper in Europe.

Hart has established himself as England’s first-choice keeper, having consistently produced fine form to help guide City to the top of the Premier League.

And while Hart’s only career trophy so far is the FA Cup, which City won last season, James believes the 25-year-old is much better than his Spanish counterpart.

“Joe is better than Casillas,” James told The Sun.

“He [Casillas] is recognised as number one because he’s won the World Cup, European Championship and has been fortunate to be at one of the biggest clubs in Europe for years.

“But Joe’s distribution is 10 times better than Casillas’. He makes all the saves, he takes all the crosses. He can do much more than Casillas.
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“If Casillas was in the Premier League, he’d struggle. Put him in Wolves’ team. See how good he is then. Joe is head and shoulders above everyone else.”

Meanwhile, Hart insisted City deserve their place at the Premier League’s summit and is confident they will not let their advantage slip again, having previously surrendered an eight-point advantage over Manchester United.

“We were strongly reminded that we were leading and then we supposedly cracked up,” he said.

“But we’re back at the top when it matters. We have two games to go. Hopefully we can get a couple of goals and wrap up this league.

“We are not on a late surge. We have not been battling in fourth or fifth and all of a sudden come good. We have been top of the league, or chasing the leaders by a couple of points, all season.”

City beat their local rivals 1-0 at the Etihad Stadium on Monday to give themselves the advantage in the title race, but Hart is not dwelling on their double over United.

“The United game is gone now,” he said. “We have played and beaten them twice. Now we must focus on Newcastle.”

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