England No.1 Joe Hart excited by tough Montenegro exam

England keeper Joe Hart was mostly a passenger in San Marino. Photo: PA

Joe Hart spelt out the significance of England's World Cup qualifier with group leaders Montenegro on Tuesday and admitted: "We've got to perform."

The Manchester City goalkeeper knows Roy Hodgson's side could either be a daunting five points behind Montenegro or one point clear at the top depending on whether they win or lose in Podgorica.

England surrendered a two-goal advantage in the same stadium 17 months ago in a Euro 2012 qualifier as Montenegro hit back to force a 2-2 draw after Wayne Rooney's sending off.

Both teams were happy that evening, with England securing the point needed to clinch top spot in the group while Montenegro's recovery guaranteed them a place in the play-offs.

But there is more at stake in terms of determining the final pool outcome on Tuesday in the battle to reach the finals in Brazil.

Hart, who was a virtual spectator during last night's 8-0 win over minnows San Marino, said: "Tuesday is big, an exciting game for us. We are getting closer to the World Cup finals.

"We've got to perform. Maybe we could be accused of taking our foot off the pedal as we let a 2-0 advantage slip away last time against them when we needed just a point.

"That is not going to be the case this time. We've got a job on our hands in an intimidating arena, but we've definitely got the capabilities.

"We go there with the intention of doing well against a good nation.

"Brazil is a long way off, and I'm not going to get carried away thinking about that, but hopefully with a few wins we can start doing that."

Hart admitted he adapts the same approach for all games, irrespective of the quality of the opposition.

He added: "It's no different to me. I treat all games the same. Just because I might have had little to do on Friday, I'm not going to be asleep on Tuesday.

"It's the same build-up, same hype, same adrenalin, whoever you play against."

Midfielder James Milner is relishing the intimidating atmosphere and challenge that will greet England against Montenegro.

He said: "These are the sort of games you enjoy playing in, with the crowd on your back, and when you are getting a lot of stick.

"We will know it well from having been there before. It will be tough.

"It is never easy qualifying for a major tournament. We know Montenegro are a good team and they showed that in their qualifying campaign.

"But we are thinking positively."