Former England goalkeeper David Seaman has become the latest high-profile sporting figure to criticise Pep Guardiola for loaning out Joe Hart, arguing that the decision "does not look good" on Manchester City.
Hart moved to Torino last summer on a season-long loan after losing his first-team place under Guardiola. As part of the Catalan’s summer overhaul, the 29-year-old joined a number of City veterans to leave the club in search of regular football.
The current England No 1 has gone on to establish himself at Torino, having enjoyed a respectable season with the Italians so far, while his City replacement, Claudio Bravo, has endured a dismal start to life in England.
Bravo was notably mocked by his own fans in City's recent FA Cup victory over Huddersfield, though Guardiola continues to stand by his decision to replace Hart with the Chilean.
But Seaman, who made 75 appearances for England during his 23-year career and enjoyed one season with City, was blunt in his criticism of the City manager.
"I must say I’m having a little chuckle [at City's goalkeeper situation]," he confessed. "When you see what Joe’s capable of and what’s going on there at the moment, it’s a shame. The decision was made and that’s it.”
Hart has returned to England for international duty as Gareth Southgate’s men prepare to take on Germany and Lithuania in two friendly fixtures at Wembley.
“I’m glad that Joe is playing high-quality football and then when he comes back with England, he still performs like we know he can do,” Seaman added.
“It [Guardiola's decision] doesn’t look good to me, because I know Joe is a good goalkeeper. I’ve always rated him very highly - not just because of what he does on the pitch, but because of the way he reacts to setbacks.
“He’s had a few and he didn’t have the best Euros, but he’s reacted properly from it. He’s still performing and when you look at the guys who are replacing him [at City], they’re nowhere near as good.”
I must say I’m having a little chuckle...
When asked why Guardiola made the decision to loan at Hart, Seaman said: “You'll have to ask Pep that. It shocked me and I'm sure it shocked a lot of City fans.”
Despite Hart’s exodus, Seaman expressed his belief that the goalkeeper has emerged from the situation as a ‘winner’. Torino have struggled defensively this season, with Hart being repeatedly called on - something which has enabled him to showcase his talent.
“Joe is winning anyway, because he’s still playing high-level football,” Seaman explained. “He’s still performing to great levels and then coming back, playing for England and showing what he can do. For me, his levels haven’t dropped.”