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By ESPN Staff

Hughes rules out chance of Hart being sold

Mark Hughes has ruled out the possibility of Joe Hart leaving Manchester City.

Hart was allowed to join Birmingham on a season-long loan in a bid to further his development after losing his first-team place to Shay Given in the middle of last season.

The 22-year-old's time at St Andrew's has been a spectacular success. Hart has been a pivotal figure in Birmingham's rise up the table, triggering speculation that the England international, who is an outside contender to make Fabio Capello's World Cup squad, might eventually stay permanently.

It is certainly something Alex McLeish would like to see happen.

However, Hughes has no intention of a player signed from Shrewsbury by current England Under-21 coach Stuart Pearce being allowed to leave Eastlands.

"We allowed Joe to go because we felt it was important that he played regular football,'' said Hughes. "He was frustrated to lose his place when Shay came but we have huge regard for his ability.

"We felt it was important for him to continue to develop and improve. He wasn't going to do that outside the first-team here, so we decided the best course of action was to let him get some experience elsewhere.

"But our view on Joe has not changed. He is an outstanding 'keeper and we are pleased that he is a Manchester City player.''

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