Hodgson backs Hart despite England blunders

The Three Lions head coach publicly supported his first-choice goalkeeper, despite being at fault for at least two of four goals scored by Sweden star Zlatan Ibrahimovic
England manager Roy Hodgson has backed Joe Hart despite the goalkeeper's poor performance in the Three Lions' 4-2 friendly defeat to Sweden on Wednesday night.

The Manchester City No.1 had a torrid time against the home side's talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who netted four times including a 35-yard free kick and a 30-yard bicycle kick, with Hart at fault for both.

Despite the 25-year-old's disappointing display, the 65-year-old boss showed his support for the keeper, stating England will have "a lot of success" with him between the posts.

"These things happen. I think the third goal got a slight deflection, and it was a shot from distance where we wouldn't normally think of conceding a goal," he told reporters.

"The fourth one, he got a very unpleasant bounce. The ball actually really pitched up and he couldn't get the purchase on his header, and it led of course to Zlatan scoring his acrobatic goal."

Hart failed to stop a powerful Ibrahimovic volley for Sweden's second goal, and was beaten from distance at his near post by the imposing forward for the third as the Scandinavian side went ahead in the game for the second time.

For the fourth, Hart raced from his line in the 90th minute to deal with a long ball, but could not get a clean connection with a headed clearance, and Paris Saint-Germain striker fashioned a majestic volley from distance to seal the victory.

However, Hodgson is still confident in his No.1 goalkeeper, suggesting a dip in form is simply part and parcel of any footballer's life, and he maintained Hart will recover and lead England on to better days.

He continued: "We're not bothered about Joe Hart, and we think for the future, going forward, he's a very good goalkeeper and we will have a lot of success with him in the goal and if tonight it wasn't maybe one of his absolute best days, this happens in football."