Joe Hart will start in goal for England against Germany on Tuesday with his international career on the line. Roy Hodgson has made it clear that while he retains confidence in a player who has already lost his place at Manchester City, there is no room for any more mistakes.
"All I can do is give Joe the shirt and give him the chance to go out and play," Hodgson said. "Afterwards he is going to have to face whatever he faces, but Joe is an experienced player – he understands that.
"If he plays well and does well, and keeps a clean sheet and helps us to win the game, then I'm sure people are going to be saying some very good things about him. But if he doesn't, and lets a couple of easy goals in, he's going to have to accept that there'll be criticism, because that's the way of the world we live in. I can't change things for players in that respect. We've had plenty of pats on the back recently, but we all know that, unfortunately, this game of football also gives you slaps in the face."
Hodgson accepts that Hart is under a certain amount of personal pressure after his highly public loss of form but has resisted the temptation to take him to one side and spell out the precariousness of his position. "Any time any player pulls on an England shirt he is in for a tough mental test and a tough test of attitude," he said. "As an experienced player, Joe knows the way of the world. He understands that if he loses his place in the Manchester City team, and is criticised for letting a couple of goals in, then what happens will happen.
"I don't need to take him aside and say: 'Joe, this is what happens in football.' I've got too much respect for him as a professional and as a man to do that. I always try to tell players things they haven't talked about, but I won't try and teach them to suck eggs."
In addition to Hart, Hodgson will also have Ashley Cole, Phil Jagielka and Daniel Sturridge back for the Germany game – but not Phil Jones, who was ruled out on Saturday by a groin injury after undergoing a scan. Steven Gerrard, who is undergoing painkilling injections to counter a hip injury, is also a doubt.
But Hodgson has no qualms about using Wayne Rooney for another 90 minutes if necessary. "If he's fit, Wayne will start the game," Hodgson said. "He had to play as a lone striker against Chile because of the options we had, but we should have a few players back in the forward areas for Germany. Whether he plays for the whole 90 is another matter, but the good thing with Wayne is that he always wants to. He thrives on playing and I am under no pressure from anyone, either here or at his club, to reduce his playing time in friendly matches."
Germany are without Sami Khedira. The midfielder could miss the World Cup as he faces up to six months out after tearing cruciate ligaments in his knee in the 1-1 friendly draw with Italy in Milan on Friday. Joachim Löw said he would also travel to London without Philipp Lahm, the goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and Arsenal's Mesut Özil in order to give other players an opportunity.