Hart became one of the most unfortunate victims of Manchester City's new-found wealth. He emerged as a young goalkeeper of great promise and quality during the 2007-08 campaign, keeping Sweden No. 1 Andreas Isaksson out of the City team, and by the end of the campaign he won his first full England cap at 21 years old in a friendly against Trinidad & Tobago.
After establishing himself as City's first choice keeper under former England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson, new boss Mark Hughes brought in Republic of Ireland international Shay Given in January 2009 from Newcastle United and Hart was relegated to the bench.
The former Shrewsbury Town player, who won the League Two goalkeeper of the season award for 2005-06, went out on loan to newly-promoted Birmingham City for the 2009-10 season where he was a key figure in the club's mid-table finish.
Now back at Eastlands, he will have to compete with Given for first-team football but should be given a chance with the club looking to challenge on several fronts.
Strengths: Great reflexes, good positional sense and is comfortable with the ball at his feet.
Weaknesses: As a young 'keeper, his decision making still needs time to develop.
Career high: Being handed his England debut by Fabio Capello in June 2008 in a friendly in Trinidad & Tobago.
Career low: After making his senior debut for Shrewsbury Town at 17 years old in April 2004, Hart conceded three goals in the next game, against Morecombe, and did not play again for another year.
Style: Energetic, athletic, a fearless young goalkeeper.
Quotes: "Joe is a very good keeper and he proved that last season at Birmingham. He had a fantastic year, was player of the season there and he will quite rightly feel that he should be playing now. There is competition for every place. It will give both of us an extra edge and I'm looking forward to it" - Shay Given, July 2010
Trivia: Joe, whose first name is actually Charles, danced around in nothing but a pair of cycling shorts and one sock for Saturday morning football show Soccer AM. Well worth searching YouTube for.