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The 24-year-old insisted that other candidates were more qualified to lead the Three Lions, despite his great progress since cementing his place in the squad

Manchester City keeper Joe Hart has played down his chances of becoming England captain in place of the recently deposed John Terry.

The Chelsea captain was removed from the role, against the wishes of England manager Fabio Capello, after his trial for allegedly racially abusing centre-back partner Rio Ferdinand’s brother Anton was scheduled for 9 July, after the Euro 2012 final.

24-year-old Hart has matured greatly at Eastlands, and consolidated his position for the Three Lions since becoming first choice after occupying one of the reserve goalkeeper slots at World Cup 2010.

That he is now mentioned as a candidate for the captaincy demonstrates how much his consistent performances have impressed over the past year, but Hart has responded modestly to the suggestions.

“I’m flattered to be linked with it, but I think anyone who’s having a consistent run in the England side is being linked with it. There are a lot stronger candidates than myself.” Hart told The Mirror.

Hart's suitability for the role has been particularly highlighted due to a lack of other potential candidates.

Vice-captain Steven Gerrard suffered an injury-hit 2011 whilst other stalwarts Ashley Cole and Rio Ferdinand are seemingly unkeen to take the armband.

However, the shot stopper has insisted on maintaining focus on his club duties, with City currently topping the table ahead of Manchester United.

He continued: “There’s a long way to go. I’ve got a really important season with games for Manchester City and hopefully a couple for England coming up. That’s all I’m concentrating on just now.”

When asked about the situation regarding the Ferdinand brothers and John Terry, Hart remained diplomatic, refusing to be drawn on the subject.

“It’s not really for me to comment upon. I don’t know what was or was not said, " he concluded.

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