IN the tunnel before England faced Wales in Lens at Euro 2016, Joe Hart was caught on camera screaming: “Come on boys, get that ball, move that f*****g ball, come on.”
Ahead of other international games, the tunnel wall has felt the full force of the keeper’s glove.
The sight of Hart thumping his chest while walking towards England’s fans has not been uncommon, he would always lead the chorus of God Save the Queen and his celebrations have frenzied when England have pulled off a terrific result.
Not that there have been many of those.
In an era when some players are accused of not giving a flying fig about international football, Hart is an obvious and refreshing exception.
But as we saw at Euro 2016, which proved to be a lousy tournament for England but Hart in particular, super-charged emotions can sometimes blind a player.
This has been the case for Hart. As he accepted yesterday, it is now time to calm down.
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Hart has suffered a turbulent six months, from two major mistakes in France before being frozen out by Pep Guardiola at Manchester City and subsequently loaned to Torino.
Hart, 29, will start against Spain tonight looking for a fifth successive England clean sheet.
As he spoke at Tottenham’s training ground yesterday, Hart revealed that he has put a lid on his behaviour before and during games.
Sam Allardyce voiced his concern over the keeper’s histrionics during his short spell while Gareth Southgate has also raised the alarm.
Hart said: “I'm always trying to learn and adapt. Obviously the Euros weren't my finest hour. I needed to have a think and pick apart how I played and what I did, and maybe change a few things speaking to the people who count. Seeking advice. Even with Gareth, we spoke about it.
“I've got a lot of energy, a lot of passion. Questionably, it could have been too much. But there are ways of channelling that. I'm constantly changing and evolving, trying to be the best I can be. Learning from things that didn't go too well is definitely a way of doing that.
“There are just different ways of channelling the passion. There’s nothing wrong with being positive, being passionate and proud of your country is definitely a positive.”
After leaving the Ehihad, Hart has now played 10 times for Torino after become the first ever English keeper to play in Serie A.
He said: “I was never pushed away or training on my own at City. I just wasn't part of the team. You have to be able to deal with that and I was told I was needed to find somewhere else to play, got the opportunity and here I am. It was a different situation but nothing that was too far out of my comfort zone. I'm really happy that I've still been able to come back and play with the England team and enjoy that as well.”
Hart has proved to be popular at Torino – his replica jersey is the club’s best seller – and a group of the club’s fans got tickets for Friday’s 3-0 win over Scotland.
He added: “That was a nice touch. They came down behind the goal and saw me. I was really focused but then started to hear them. It was a nice feeling. It's a special effort. I was really appreciative.
“I'm doing alright with learning Italian. I'm trying. I've got a teacher and speaking to the lads. I'm not great at it. It doesn't come naturally to me but it's something I'm trying to do.
“I’ve not moved to another planet, I’ve just moved to another European country. And I’m enjoying it. I’d say it’s a lot more tactical in Italy than what we do.
“I’m a Torino player for this season. I’ve got two years on my contract after this season. It’s difficult to look too far ahead of that and without passing the buck it’s not really my responsibility to think about. The City fans have always been fantastic to me and showed me a lot of support and it’s a club I will always hold dear to my heart.”
Hart, likely to be replaced at half-time by Burnley keeper Tom at half-time, admits England’s interim manager is Mr Cool.
He said: “It has been really enjoyable since Gareth has come in. The last trip (in Slovenia) would have been difficult given the circumstances but he is cool and calm. It is not an act.
"We are looking forward to moving on and evolve as a team. We want to do well in the next tournament not just because of what happened in the last one."
Euro 2016 will forever haunt Hart and when, as expected, he walks out for the first match at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, do not expect any wall-punching or chest-thumping – just an impressively loud rendition of the national anthem.
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