‘I’ll take one’: Manchester City’s Joe Hart ready for penalties and warns England of Mario Balotelli threat

By Dean Wilkins

Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart is ready to step-up for England if the quarter-final against Italy goes to penalties.

Hart looks set to be one of five spot-kick takers for Roy Hodgson and said he would be happy to fill the role if needed.

The England team have been practising the daunting penalty shootout and Hart takes as many as the rest of the team.

“If they let me, I would put my name forward 100%,” he said. “Hopefully it won’t come to [penalties] but I would back myself in a tournament.

“If penalties are required then so be it.”

When asked about how much he practised, he said: “As much as anyone else, I do like to take my penalties.”

The England team have been analysing the Italians and Hart said he has been watching videos of their opponents’ spot-kicks.

“I do my research, I know where all the Italian players put their penalties,” he said.

“I watch it on my own. I watch it quite late in the day.”

And Hart claimed his Manchester City teammate Mario Balotelli could be dangerous if he is selected for Italy.

The goalkeeper said: “He could be a great threat, he’s a great player.

“More importantly Joleon knows him. I’ve never actually played against [Balotelli] but it would be a lot of fun.”

Hart also praised England fans that supported the team in the 1-0 victory over Ukraine.

“No matter how many there are the fans mean the world to you,” he said.

“It’s obviously a great achievement, something we set out to do at the start of the tournament.

“I think we started well with the right idea and the right kind of game plans for each game. I think we’ve executed them well.

“Regardless of what some people thought that was nothing to do with the camp.

“There has been a group of people that’s thought we would not do that well.”

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