Hart ready to take and save penalties

England goalkeeper Joe Hart has said he would be happy to take a penalty if the Euro 2012 quarter-final against Italy on Sunday goes to spot-kicks.


Hart had been reported to be ready to step forward to take a spot-kick, and has now said he would have no problems with accepting the responsibility if manager Roy Hodgson asked him to.

The Manchester City goalkeeper told a press conference in Krakow: "If they let me, I would put my name forward 100 per cent."

Hart, who converted the second kick in a shootout for England in the semi-final of the 2009 European U21 Championship, added: "Hopefully it won't come to that (taking penalties) but I would back myself (to take a penalty) in a tournament.

"If penalties are required then so be it."

Hart also revealed he practised taking penalties as much as the rest of the England squad.

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

Hart also confirmed he looked into how his opponents took penalties and that he would watch a video of the Italian players taking spot-kicks close to kick-off time on Sunday.

"I do my research, I know where all the Italian players put their penalties," he said. "I watch it (the video) on my own. I watch it quite late in the day.

"But anyone in this room can do that... You just go to youtube and 'click'..."

Dismissing a popular notion that a more enlightened and relaxed approach under new manager Roy Hodgson was responsible for their success, the 25-year-old said it was down to the players' ambition and old-fashioned hard work rather than the historic surroundings or beautiful architecture of Krakow.

"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," he told a news conference.

"Regardless of what some people thought that was nothing to do with the camp. We are here to play football and to play well as a team.

"Maybe it is more relaxed this time but I think this has been taken out of context. The main thing is that we are playing well as a team and that is why we're here - it's nothing to do with seeing a nice statue or going for a pizza or being with someone you want to be with.

"It's because we are getting the training right, we are understanding the manager's methods and we are learning to do our own jobs."

In a forceful if veiled jibe at sections of the English media, which had written off England's chances before the tournament, Hart stressed that the players would only be prepared to leave after they had given everything they have got.

He made it clear that the squad would not be satisfied with a last-eight exit, if they lose to Italy in Kiev on Sunday, adding with some strength of feeling that they were not playing to satisfy their media critics.

"The whole point in coming here is not to keep people happy and off our backs," he said. "We are here to win. We are not those guys (who settle for a last eight exit). We are winners.

"We want to be successful for ourselves and make English people proud of their team. We would like to leave here having given everything.

"Whether that makes people happy or keeps people off our backs, whatever... Just as long as we know we have given everything."

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