Pellegrini: Wait and see over Joe Hart
Manuel Pellegrini has backed Joe Hart to continue as England's first-choice goalkeeper -- but has refused to say if or when he will get a Manchester City recall.
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Hart, 26, has lost his City place to Costel Pantilimon after a poor run of form, but England manager Roy Hodgson has backed him and hinted that he will start at least one of the forthcoming Wembley friendlies against Chile and Germany.
Hodgson is also expected to retain Hart as his No. 1 when he announces his World Cup finals squad next year, and Pellegrini said he was happy to see the keeper retain his international spot.
"I'm absolutely happy," he added. "I think he deserves to be in the squad. He has been the English No. 1 over the whole of the qualifiers for the World Cup. I think he must be there."
However, Pellegrini gave no indication that he was ready to replace Pantilimon, who has played each of his side’s last three games.
"I'm not thinking about that," he said. "I'm thinking about what is best for the team at this moment.
"And at this moment, I repeat, I will trust in Pantilimon. But we continue to trust in Joe, and we will see when he can come back."
Pellegrini takes his side to relegation-threatened Sunderland on Sunday looking to improve on a poor away league record.
City, who are without David Silva for up to four weeks, have won all their Premier League matches at the Etihad Stadium this season, but have collected only four points from five matches away from home.
Pellegrini, whose side go into the weekend in fifth place, is adamant that record must improve if they are to close a six-point gap between themselves and leaders Arsenal.
He said: "We cannot continue losing points away from home. That’s very important for us.
"We are six points behind Arsenal. This Sunday, Arsenal play at Manchester United, which is a difficult game for both of them. It's a chance for us to recover two or three points. We'll see what happens in that match."