Joe Hart: No explanation for England's recent failures at major tournaments
BURTON-ON-TRENT -- Joe Hart is at a total loss to explain England's major tournament failures but admits they need to find an answer ahead of next summer's World Cup.
England will qualify for Russia with a win against Slovenia at Wembley on Thursday and, barring injury or a catastrophic loss of form, the West Ham goalkeeper will go to a fourth major tournament.
Hart, 30, was the third keeper at the 2010 World Cup, without making an appearance, but he was No.1 when England were beaten in the quarterfinals at Euro 2012 and Euro 2016, and failed to make it out of the World Cup group in 2014.
Hart rejected psychological factors, and the often-cited suggestion that the Premier League is a hindrance, and joked that it is worrying that he continues to feel so confident in England, despite having no explanation for their continued disappointments.
"I feel great behind this team. It really excites me and fascinates what we have to offer but I have always felt that way. That is the worrying thing," Hart said.
"People have always asked me what is the key and what needs to be different. I cannot give an answer. If I could, I would have a much better record in tournaments. I believe in the squad from the bottom of my heart. I believe we are capable but there is a big difference in believing in something and doing it.
"We need to find the answer. I don't know [what it is]. At the moment we are giving everything on and off the field. We are trying to gel as a team, find out more about each other and know what to do in certain situations. We are trying to prepare for everything.
"I don't feel the Premier League affects how you play in international football. That is down to us. [And] I have not lost any games for psychological reasons. I have lost games because we have not been good enough in knockout football."
Hart is expected to win his 74th cap against Slovenia, surpassing 1966 World Cup-winning goalkeeper Gordan Banks, and he will equal David Seaman as the second most-capped England goalkeeper if he plays against Lithuania on Sunday.
The former Manchester City player added: "I love playing for my country but the most important thing for me is to do something with that. I have qualified for tournaments -- that is done. It is not about qualifying any more it is about trying to be part of that special moment when England do well at a tournament. I want to be part of that."
In Tottenham's Harry Kane, Hart believes England will take one of the best strikers in the world to Russia after the 23-year-old scored 13 goals for club and country in September, including two against Hart in Spurs' 3-2 win at West Ham.
"He is hot, isn't he? He is scoring just as many goals as the people we have related to as world class and he has been doing it for many seasons," Hart said.
"Harry gets put in that bracket and deserves to be. [Mauricio] Pochettino, one of the hottest managers in the world, regards him highly and there are reasons for that. Harry will keep being Harry and he will keep scoring goals. As long as he is in my team, wearing an England badge, I want that to continue.
"You just know he is a good player. You know you will get a hard shot with Harry. If you give him half an inch he will get a strike on goal and make you work. There is no real secret to him and that is the brilliance of Harry.
"It is not dazzling skills, Harry is just brilliant at what he does and he is just one of the best out there. He keeps scoring goals and you cannot ask for any more than that. Long may it continue in an England shirt."
Kane has said he wants to emulate Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, and Hart added: "You can see it. I didn't know he said that and I don't need to hear that. I see it in Harry. I see how he behaves. It is a good person to have in our squad but I see it in a lot of the players. We all want the same thing.
"Some of the rubbish coming his way when he did not score in August... But I still regarded Harry as the one you saw at the end of September with the same frightening number of goals. Whether he keeps his form, scores 40 goals or ends up with 20, he is still a top player and we're lucky to have him."
Dan is ESPN FC's Tottenham correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Dan_KP.