Hodgson believes Hart could be key to England's chances of Euro glory

The Three Lions boss believes the shot-stopper will need to be in top form if the squad are to perform well, while the goalkeeper is in buoyant mood ahead of the France clash

England boss Roy Hodgson has suggested that Joe Hart could be key to the national team's chances of Euro 2012 success, and underlined the importance of a solid goalkeeper.

Having travelled to the World Cup two years ago as third-choice, Hart has since cemented his place in the Three Lions starting XI.

And Hodgson believes a dependable goalkeeper can provide the backbone to his side.

"If you look at the top England teams of the past we have often had a goalkeeper that people have suggested is one of the best in Europe or, in the case of Gordon Banks, one of the best in the world," Hodgson told reporters.

"Joe Hart will be vital. His form for Manchester City has been superb. When he has played for England he has done very well.

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"If we are to do well there is no doubt we will need Joe in top form. He produces the saves a normal keeper wouldn't. That lifts your team higher up. It also gives confidence.

"I agree 100 per cent with Brian Clough's view; he always placed great faith in goalkeepers. Brian felt they got you a lot of points every year."

After an uncertain few weeks for the England squad, following the search for Fabio Capello’s successor, the Three Lions are set to fly out to Poland with two 1-0 wins under their belts.

And Hart believes the team are well-prepared for their opening game with France on Monday.

"Hopefully, it's just coming up nicely for the France game," Hart told reporters. "We'll have a great group of fans behind us, we will be united as a team and we'll give it a real good go."