Being an outfield player can make it a considerably less pressurized situation when you’re ‘dropped’. Being England and Manchester City’s number one goalkeeper and the Premier League Golden Glove winner the past three years makes it headline news. For the past month Joe Hart has been at the centre of a media firestorm: ignited further after his ‘mistake’ at Chelsea during injury time, which saw Fernando Torres net the winner for the home side in a 2-1 win at Stamford Bridge.
The hounding tabloid wolves speculated instantly after the final whistle at the Bridge as to whether or not Hart would be dropped by City manager Manuel Pellegrini. So when the news filtered through that the Chilean had chosen to play stopper Costel Pantilimon ahead of Hart in the Capital One Cup tie against Newcastle at St James’ Park, despite the fact that the Romanian is always first choice for cup games, the media outlets on social networking sites practically purred with delight.
Sky Sports, with their finger forever on the pulse, lapped up the opportunity and kept cutting to pictures of Hart sat on the bench. Downcast, dejected and disheartened, the commentators quipped. No, just rested. No sensationalized reports of Sergio Aguero or David Silva being dropped. No, because they were rested too. It’s all part and parcel of being a member of a squad participating in the usual squad rotation. The Blues won the game in extra time 2-0 to progress to the quarter finals of the cup (clean sheet bonus there Costel!).