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Guardiola says Hart can leave Man City

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Manchester City's English goalkeeper Joe Hart sits on the substitutes bench for the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Sunderland at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on August 13, 2016. Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola dropped goalkeeper Joe Hart in favour of Willy Caballero for his opening Premier League game against Sunderland on August 13. / AFP PHOTO / PAUL ELLIS /

Manchester City’s English goalkeeper Joe Hart sits on the substitutes bench for the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Sunderland at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on August 13, 2016.<br />Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola dropped goalkeeper Joe Hart in favour of Willy Caballero for his opening Premier League game against Sunderland on August 13. / AFP PHOTO / PAUL ELLIS /

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola will not stand in Joe Hart’s way if the out-of-favour goalkeeper decides to leave the club, he said on Friday.

Guardiola has left Hart on the bench for City’s first two games of the season, with Willy Caballero starting instead, and is reportedly close to signing Claudio Bravo from his former club Barcelona.

Hart, 29, has been linked with Everton and Sevilla and although Guardiola is happy for him to stay and fight for his place, he accepts that he will not be able to keep the England international against his will.

Asked if Hart can leave the club if he wants to, Guardiola told reporters at the City Football Academy training complex in Manchester: “Yes, of course.

“I want happiness for the players. I don’t want the players to stay here if they don’t want to stay.

“All the players here have a contract. They decide their future because they have a contract. If they want to stay, stay, and we will fight together.

“If they want to leave because they prefer to play every game — not speaking about Joe, speaking about all the players in the squad — I want to live and work with the players who want to stay.”

Hart has been City’s first-choice goalkeeper for the past six seasons, contributing to two Premier League title wins, two League Cup successes and their 2011 FA Cup triumph.

But he had a poor Euro 2016 for England and was at fault for goals in their group-stage win over Wales and last 16 defeat by Iceland.

Guardiola was speaking ahead of his side’s trip to Stoke City in the Premier League on Saturday.


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