Date: 8th October 2010 at 1:45am
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Joe Hart’s loan spell at Birmingham was the springboard he needed to get where he is today in the England set up according to Alex McLeish.

Hart spent a season with Blues last term and did more than his fair share to ensure that Birmingham managed a ninth place finish in the Premier League.

Hart was a sub for the England squad, but thanks to his spell at St Andrews he now owns the number one position.

McLeish told Press Association Sport: ‘I was the worst critic of my goalkeepers when I played for 18 years at Aberdeen and Scotland.

‘I used to get frustrated with the ‘keepers. We looked at Joe Hart’s game last year after the first few games. I spoke to (Birmingham goalkeeping coach) Dave Watson and said ‘there are a few things we’ve simply got to work on’.

‘At the time, one of the things was that Joe was punching everything. I said ‘Joe, you are 6ft 4in tall, you’re the only guy who can use your hands in the box’. Dave, myself and Joe saw some video stuff and we thought it was a wee habit he had just got into. We don’t know where he acquired it but it was in his game and maybe that is why Mark Hughes decided to go for Shay Given (at Manchester City).’