Why Joe Hart is a certainty to start for England at the World Cup

Yesterday I made three New Year resolutions: 1. Not to bet any more. 2 Not to bet any less. 3. Only to place bets that win. 4. Never to bet more than I can afford to lose - unless it's a really good thing.

But last night I had a re-think and have found room for No.5 - keep backing Joe Hart like he's a certainty to start in England's opening World Cup match, for the simple reason that Joe Hart is a certainty to start England's opening World Cup match.

If you think this is a knee-jerk reaction to Hart's superb performances in the Birmingham goal over Christmas you'd be only half-right. Hart has been superb all season but what makes the 9-2 offered by Bet365 so unmissable is that the two keepers ahead of him in the betting are David James and Rob Green.

That would be the Rob Green who next May will very likely be coming to terms with a future as a Championship keeper and the David James who next May will be coming to terms with a future as an inn-keeper.

Hart is a certainty to be on the plane to Africa (Bet365 offer 8-13 for that) and in his current form he'd be able to handle even a radicalised Nigerian.

With him between the sticks Birmingham have conceded just 18 goals in 20 Premier League games - a terrific record made to look even better when you realise Green has shipped 37.

To start against USA (Bet365): 15-8 R Green, D James, 9-2 J Hart, 8-1 B Foster, 10-1 P Robinson.

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