Joe Hart's rise to the top of his profession has been nothing short of astronomical. Plucked from League Two's Shrewsbury in 2006 as a 19 year old, he preceded the 'nouveau riche' era of Manchester City, but has gone on to become one of its leading lights. Joe kept a clean sheet on his debut in October of the same year, but finding himself behind the more experienced Nicky Weaver and Andres Isaksson in the pecking order, he was farmed out on loan to Tranmere Rovers and Blackpool. The latter spell, in particular, provided a trigger for the trajectory on which Hart continues to ride. He returned to Eastlands to find Sven-Goran Eriksson at the helm. The Swede recognised Joe's huge potential and named him as his first choice goalkeeper, bigging him up as "one of the biggest talents in the country."
His spell as first choice for club led to an early international debut, too. At only 21, he appeared between the sticks for England in a friendly against Trinidad and Tobago in 2008. He continued his good form for Man City through the opening half of the 2008-9 season, but his position as club number one was challenged in the January transfer window. Eriksson had departed by this stage and his replacement, Mark Hughes, was armed with the formidable fortune of the club's new owner Sheikh Mansour, of the ruling family of Abu Dhabi in the UAE. Determined to add strength in depth to the City squad, he purchased Shay Given from Newcastle United, relegating Hart to the bench for the latter half of the season.
Frustrated at the lack of opportunities, Hart moved on loan to Birmingham City for the 2009-10 season. After a string of outstanding performances for the newly promoted side, he was voted their Player of the Season and elected to the PFA Team of the Year. He was also nominated for the PFA Young Player of the Season, but lost out to James Milner. He was rewarded with a seat on the plane to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa (where he was third choice goalkeeper) and a place in the Manchester City first team upon his return, ousting the experienced Given. Hart hasn't looked back since. In the 2010-11 season, he kept a remarkable 29 clean sheets, winning the Golden Glove award for his achievement, before driving City to a famous first league title in 44 years. He has also cemented himself as England's Number One and was one of the team's finer performers at a Euro 2012 campaign that was full of promise for fans of the national team.
With a calmness and dependability that belies his tender age, you can be sure Joe Hart is here to stay.