"Joe is going to be England's outstanding goalkeeper for the next 10 or 15 years.>>MEN.
"But it is right that we have been able to take him out of the fire, allow him to step back and see where he is.
"It is different with outfield players, because you can keep taking them out and putting them back in again. You can't do that with a goalkeeper, and there are too many examples of young lads who have ended up burnt and scarred and never recovered."
One of the factors in which I argued against the signing of Shay Given was the point Hughes made in the last paragraph - that essentially you cannot have two number 1 goalkeepers in a squad because, unlike outfield players, squad rotation and resting players is simply not required in the way it is for outfield players.
I must admit to having to accept though that Given's arrival has been a resounding success. He has made a number of key saves for us, and although Richard Dunne and Nedum Onouha have forged an impressive partnership, credit surely must be given (no pun intended) to Shay Given who has more than played his part in our recent impressive defensive performances - conceding just ten goals in eleven games so far since his arrival from Newcastle.
As for Joe Hart, his ability is not in question but I think Given's experience and maturity has brought a degree of stability to the position that was not there when Hart was in goal. That is not to say Hart is finished at the club, and I do feel that if he is patient enough, he will eventually win back the number 1 spot.
Next season though is a big one given it will be the season leading up to the World Cup. My own preference, and no doubt Hart's, would be for him to go out on loan for the season to keep him playing at the top level and also put him firmly in the frame for a World Cup berth.
If Hughes sanctioned a loan, I think it is clear that a Premier League side would snap him up - a move that would benefit all parties concerned in both the short and long term.