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England hopeful Joe Hart’s latest West Ham error has harpooned his World Cup hopes

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Photo: Getty Images

Everything seemed to finally be falling into place for West Ham’s loanee goalkeeper Joe Hart. Having been benched by David Moyes, he made a man of the match return against Chelsea as he emerged the hero on his return to Stamford Bridge.

Then everything came crashing back to earth in disastrous fashion at the London Stadium on Monday evening.

Hart has gone from a steady and reliable option for one of the best sides in the Premier League and a clear first choice for England to a calamitous liability for a team fighting relegation and his spot on the plane to Russia is in doubt.

With Jordan Pickford and Jack Butland excelling, the latter in the opposite net on Monday night as Hart slipped up by producing his fourth error leading to a goal this season.

(Photo credit should read GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images)

Not only did Joe Hart fumble the ball but it was just the latest reminder for Gareth Southgate that he cannot trust his most experienced man in Russia.

He will likely make the 23 man squad, partly out of loyalty and thanks for his role in securing qualification as Southgate has previously suggest would be the case, but also for his experience of such tournaments which could be key for novices like Butland and Pickford.

Burnley‘s Nick Pope may feel aggrieved if he is to miss out, but Hart’s experience and leadership role within the England dressing room may be too important to risk by not selecting him. Even with that in mind though, Southgate has proven himself to be ruthless as he did with his easing out of Wayne Rooney.

Whilst Rooney’s struggle for form saw him dropped from the side, leading to his international retirement, Hart’s can surely only have the same influence.

As Southgate looks to build a new look set-up with the Three Lions, featuring a young back three full of new names such as Harry Maguire, Alfie Mawson and James Tarkowski, Hart will no longer have such a key presence and it seems an opportune time to blood a new first choice in his place.

Sam is a football journalist focusing on English football at all levels and Spanish football. He also writes for Spain's biggest daily sports newspaper, MARCA, as well as The Boot Room. Find Sam on Twitter at @samleveridge.

West Ham United

Manuel Pellegrini looking to Reim’s Edouard Mendy as first West Ham signing

The 25-year-old is available for as little as £2 million this summer.

Josh Kerr

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Edouard Mendy
Photo: Getty Images

According to the Mirror, Manuel Pellegrini and West Ham United have already identified a replacement for Joe Hart as the Hammers look to strengthen in a position that came under severe scrutiny throughout the previous campaign.

The Chilean boss is keen on highly-rated Reims goalkeeper Edouard Mendy to kick off his reign as the new Hammers boss.

The 25-year-old Guinea-Bissau international, who is rated at £2 million, would be a smart appointment considering the east London outfit are lacking options for the number one jersey.

Joe Hart will return to parent club Manchester City after failing to impress at the London Stadium, whilst Adrian is another figure who has failed to demonstrate why fans should be satisfied with his displays.

(Photo by Francois Nascimbenti/Getty Images)

Mendy’s time in France saw him play a starring role in Reims’ promotion to Ligue 1 this season, keeping 17 clean sheets in 31 games, whilst conceding just 19 goals across the course of the campaign.

At £2 million, the 6ft 5 keeper is worth a gamble considering the Hammers thin number of keeper options and, just 26 years of age, the Frenchman undoubtedly has a long career ahead of him and Pellegrini should gamble in bringing him to the Premier League.

If West Ham are to achieve a targeted top 10 finish, they have to strengthen in the right areas. Mendy would be an assured figure between the sticks and the addition of one or two defenders could shape a back four less susceptible to conceding goals.

The Hammers will have to move quickly as the French keeper comes with a considerably low asking price, and if Pellegrini isn’t quick he runs the risk of allowing other clubs to swoop for the Reim ace.

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West Ham United

Three things West Ham fans will demand from Manuel Pellegrini

Josh Kerr

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Manuel Pellegrini
Photo: Getty Images

David Moyes left his position as West Ham manager after achieving the job at hand and ensuring the Hammers remained in the Premier League, guiding them to a 13th place finish.

Manuel Pellegrini has since been given the keys to the Olympic Stadium after the London outfit appointed the former Premier League manager on Tuesday.

Securing a manager for the long-term was of upmost importance for the Hammers this summer and Pellegrini will be fully aware of what is expected now he has taken over the reigns.

So, what three things should be of paramount priority to the new man in charge?

(Photo by Paul Ellis/Getty Images)

Moving certain players on

West Ham have had their fair share of dead weight this season, and if the Hammers are to move in the right direction then a summer clear-out is definitely needed.

Andy Carroll is one of those who has endured a fairly miserable campaign, scoring only three times in all competitions and the Englishman has failed to hit double figures in a single season since his permanent move from Liverpool in 2013.

Cheikhou Kouyate is another player that West Hams fans would happily see leave the club. The 28-year-old, who earns £60,000-a-week, has frustrated supporters all season with no-one actually knowing what position the Senegal international is best suited to.

These two names represent, arguably, those who are most likely to leave East London. However, there will be plenty more shown the door once the new Hammers boss has found his feet.

(Photo by Glyn Kirk/Getty Images)

Improve the defence 

It doesn’t take a genius to say that West Ham’s defence is in urgent need of a reshuffle after the Hammers back four conceded the most goals in the Premier League this season, alongside Stoke.

According to Football.London, David Moyes made it clear he wanted to sign at least two defenders this window, if he remained in the job, and Pellegrini will also be very likely to do the same.

The emergence of Declan Rice will likely confirm his future under Pellegrini, and Angelo Ogbonna has improved since January which could save his West Ham career.

However, the club will likely still want to see fresh faces come in and challenge for those central defensive positions.

(Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Earn a top-half finish

Despite being a formidable force with Slaven Bilic in his first season, the club will not ask for too much from their new boss after the disarray the experienced over the last year.

The fans just want stability and a top-half finish will surely be enough to evidence that.

Moyes steered the club to 13th this season despite taking over when the club were third from bottom.

However, with a full season under Pellegrini, then a top-half finish is more than achievable with a strengthened squad.

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West Ham United

Reuniting Marko Arnautovic and Xherdan Shaqiri could lead West Ham to top half finish

Josh Kerr

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Xherdan Shaqiri
Photo: Getty Images

The 2017/18 season represents one of the most bizarre for West Ham supporters as, despite finishing 13th, the club will see their third managerial appointment in just seven months, with Manuel Pellegrini the latest manager to take the reigns in East London.

One of the biggest tasks for the Chilean tactician will be getting the summer transfer window right. This will involve strengthening in key areas if the club are to meet fans’ expectations and achieve a top-half finish next season.

The previous window for the Hammers initially looked promising, with some proven Premier League stars joining the London Stadium, including the likes of Javier Hernandez, Pablo Zabaleta and Joe Hart.

However, Hernandez has endured most of his time on the bench, while Joe Hart’s terrible form has seen him axed from Gareth Southgate’s England squad. Pablo Zabaleta can hold his head high with the Argentine already considered a fan favourite.

Marko Arnautovic was undoubtedly the star arrival of the summer window and, despite the club paying a record £20 million for the Austrian international, his form under David Moyes justified such a high fee.

The 29-year-old finished the season for the Hammers with 11 goals and six assists in 31 league games, also securing the club’s Player of the Year award.  

Arnautovic will have a huge role to play next season and getting him the perfect strike partner will be crucial in whether Pellegrini is considered a success or not.

One man who could prove to be the ideal foil for the West Ham star next season, is his former teammate and Stoke City forward Xherdan Shaqiri.

According to reports from The Sun, the Switzerland international is available for as little as £12 million, giving West Ham little reason not to swoop for the former Bayern Munich prodigy.

The speedy trickster finished the 2017/18 campaign with an impressive tally of eight goals and seven assists in 36 Premier League appearances but couldn’t help Stoke fight off relegation.

Under a manager like Pellegrini, who likes to play an attacking brand of football, the 26-year-old star could flourish to a great extent. His pace, skills and eye for goal are qualities that Hammers fans should not overlook.

Shaqiri has what it takes to make a difference for the Hammers next season and, having already played alongside Arnautovic for two seasons at Stoke, the duo will know each other’s game very well.

They could form a partnership that helps fire West Ham to a top half finish next term.

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