Hart is world class - former England keeper Tim Flowers

By Shaun DalyKick-Off reporter, BBC Radio Northampton
Joe Hart
Joe Hart was scouted by Tim Flowers while playing for Shrewsbury Town

It is a mark of just how good Joe Hart is that Tim Flowers, who represented England in the 1990s, already calls him world class.

The 24-year-old made his England debut back in June 2008 when he came on as a substitute against Trinidad and Tobago but it is the way he has risen above his rivals that has impressed Flowers.

"Joe is and will be a world class keeper for many years to come," the former Southampton and Blackburn keeper told BBC Radio Northampton.

Hart has recently signed a new five-year deal to stay at Manchester City.

Flowers, now working as the goalkeeping coach at Northampton Town, saw Hart's talent at an early age when he scouted him playing at Shrewsbury and recommended him to Manchester City.

"I probably watched him about 15 times in the end and it was a complete no-brainer (for Manchester City to sign him)," said Flowers.

Hart joined City in 2006 in a deal worth an initial £600,000 from Shrewsbury.

Flowers, who was goalkeeping coach at Manchester City, predicts a long and successful career for the Shrewsbury-born goalkeeper.

"When I first worked with him at Man City, I said to him 'you'll get 100 caps for England' and he laughed.

"But he is far and away the best young English goalkeeper - without a shadow of a doubt."

Hart made a name for himself domestically when he helped his loan club Birmingham City to a 9th place finish in the Premiership in 2009/10 earning him the Premier League Goalkeeper of the Year award.

His performances led to an England World Cup call-up from boss Fabio Capello.

Following his successful spell at Birmingham, Hart returned to City for the 2010/11 campaign and claimed the number one jersey from Republic of Ireland international Shay Given.

"If he puts his mind to it, he is the perfect age and he's a part of a group who are growing together in the England squad," said Flowers.

"He is head and shoulders above anyone at his age level".

Flowers, who played 500 league games in a professional career which spanned over 18 years, made 11 England appearances and won the Premiership with Blackburn Rovers in 1995.