Former England keeper Hart to retire at end of season

22 February 2024 0 By Total Football News

Celtic goalkeeper Joe Hart is to retire at the end of the season, saying he feels “physically great” but wants to “smash through the finish line”.

The former England and Manchester City keeper, 36, recently told Celtic his third season in Glasgow is his last.

Manager Brendan Rodgers says Hart, who played 75 times for his country, will be a “huge miss to the game”.

As well as double title success north and south of the border, Hart has won six cup medals with City and Celtic.

He told Celtic TV: “I wanted to get the message out as of June I am going to stop playing football. This is something that I have thought about for a while, there’s no right or wrong time is there?

“There is obviously a conversation around the goalkeeping position for next season and I think it’s really important that with the blessing of the club we get the message out and it takes one thing out of what people are going to speculate over.

“Physically I feel great, I feel as good as I possibly can do. For my age and what I have done to my body, I have been on the bench since I was 15, have been involved in professional football every day since I was 16.

“I have gone down every avenue to keep myself in the best possible shape to give my all on game day and I do really think I am at that peak, but I am aware time waits for no man and I don’t want my body to be retiring me. That was one of the key factors, thinking I can smash through the finish line.

“Mentally I am in the one place I like to be, I am in a place of clarity. Obviously I have thought about this a lot. There’s loads of key factors that have come into it but I think the right time is now.”

‘A brilliant asset to Celtic & the wider game’

Joe HartJoe Hart helped Celtic win the domestic treble last season

Hart has made 690 club appearances, having also turned out for Shrewsbury, Tranmere, Blackpool, Birmingham, Torino, Burnley and Tottenham.

He was part of England’s squad in four successive major tournaments between 2010 and 2016, his last cap coming the following year.

Hart helped Celtic win five of six domestic trophies in the past two seasons under Ange Postecoglou, and current manager Rodgers says the Englishman deserves “huge praise and congratulations” for his contribution to football.

“He has been such a brilliant asset to Celtic of course and the wider game at the highest levels, domestically and internationally,” Rodgers told the club’s website.

“But more than that, he is a tremendous man, just brilliant to work with, someone who I know has been a great team-mate to so many throughout his career and a player who never gives anything but his absolute best.

“I also know he will continue to work right through this season with the same intensity, commitment and drive which he has always been known for.”