The decision to bench Joe Hart by Pep Guardiola has been a topic of major controversy at Manchester City. The longtime City keeper and England's undisputed starter quickly became a backup to Willy Caballero, and with the signing of Barcelona's Claudio Bravo very close to happenning, Hart could be on his way out of the club he's been playing at for the last ten years.
Guardiola has maintained the same stance regarding his decision: his goalkeeper need to be good on the ball and be able to make short passes and not play long balls under pressure. Hart is not known for his distribution qualities, and Pep said he needs to work on his abilities with the ball on his feet before he can be a starter again.
Not a lot of people agree with Pep's decision, however. And one of them went public about it. Former City coach and current Stoke City manager Mark Hughes, who is set to face Guardiola on Saturday in a big Premier League match, was asked about Hart's benching, and he didn't shy away from the question, giving a stong answer:
"Having worked with Joe myself, I never thought that distribution was one of his weaknesses, but it’s all about opinions.
"I don’t want to debate people’s situations at their club, or maybe a situation that’s been ongoing for not just the last couple of weeks. From the outside, it seems the decision was made a long time ago and I’m sure they had discussions on all aspects of their team moving forward.
“It (distribution) is an important factor, but you have to keep the ball out of the back of the net as well and that’s quite important when you’re talking about the goalkeeping position.
“Ideally, you’d like a goalkeeper who’s comfortable with the ball at his feet and can instigate attacking moves. We’ve got a good one in terms of Jack (Butland) who’s exceptionally good in that respect and Shay (Given) is very good.”
Source: Manchester Evening News
Hughes' position is clear: it doesn't matter if you're great with the ball on his feet if you can't get your hands to it. Apparently he's quite pleased to be facing Caballero on Saturday.