Manchester City's Joe Hart hails the Premier League's bright young things.
Man City’s team spirit has been criticised in the past. Is that unfair?
Yeah, there are loads of characters. We are always asked questions about the FA Cup celebrations. After the game no one was trying to prove anything — it was genuine. I was annoyed because I had to do an interview so I couldn’t really get involved in it. The energy we felt off the fans that day and what it meant to them shone through for us. It makes a massive difference and if we could, we would have jumped into the stands and celebrated with them.
What do you think of the fans doing the Poznan celebration?
Honestly, it looks awesome. It looks amazing when we score.
Ever had any particularly strange requests from fans?
Some kid asked me to sign a condom the other day. I was like, “No, mate, I can’t sign that.” [Laughs] I couldn’t work that one out.
Is Mario Balotelli as mad as he seems from afar?
He’s a good guy. He’s only just turning 21 and he does do some mad stuff. The stuff you read and the stuff you see… He’s always got crazy hair. He’s just a crazy guy and an eccentric, but he’s a good character.
Do people make fun of him?
Yeah, he gets abuse and he understands that, you know. He doesn’t think he’s above it. I think he does it half the time for that banter. He just needs to be loved.
Have you seen the viral video of him struggling with a training bib?
We watched it in a team meeting and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing [laughs]. But he took it really well.
Do you think he might secretly be a comedy genius?
He might be…
Got any personal favourites when it comes to saves you’ve made?
Probably the one against Liverpool at the start of last season when we won 3-0. We were 2-0 up, they had about three shots and it eventually ended up with Fernando Torres smashing one at me. I quite enjoyed that one.
Who’s got the hardest shot in the game?
[City left-back Aleksander]Kolarov. It’s scary, he’d never think of just rolling it in the corner. It’s either breaking your nose or it’s going in.
Do you look back on the World Cup fondly?
Yeah, definitely. I was so excited when I was involved in the final squad. It was an amazing time. It’s just a shame it couldn’t quite finish how we all wanted it to.
Is it an exciting time with quality young English players such as Jack Wilshere coming through?
Yeah. We’ve got some great players. We’re really lucky as a nation that we’ve got lots of young talent as well as lots of experienced talent. We just need to bring them together and try to get it working.
Who are your closest friends when you head off for matches on England duty?
The City bunch are pretty close, but I enjoy seeing all the lads. You watch them week in, week out on the telly, so it’s nice to see them on a personal basis.
How would your team-mates describe you?
Hopefully that I’m fun, up for anything. We play a lot of golf together as a team and that’s good fun.
Any desire to get on Twitter like other footballers?
No, I’m absolutely not interested.
Joe Hart is wearing Umbro’s new England away goalkeeper’s kit, on sale now; umbro.com
(Image: All Star)