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Hart reported to have missed the cut for England World Cup squad

Hart reported to have missed the cut for World Cup squad Photo: PA

Joe Hart's World Cup dreams appear to have gone up in smoke as Gareth Southgate prepares to name the England squad bound for Russia.

Months of speculation, scrutiny and intrigue come to a head on Wednesday afternoon, when the 23 men charged with taking on the world's best this summer are revealed.

Their delight will contrast markedly with the disappointment of those missing out, with Hart - comfortably England's most experienced player - said to have missed the cut.

Despite the 75-cap goalkeeper's struggles for form and game-time, Southgate spoke glowingly about his professionalism and leadership when third-fiddle to Jordan Pickford and Jack Butland in March's international meet-up.

The England manager also underlined the importance of the West Ham loanee's role in getting his country to the World Cup and just last August called the criticised shot-stopper the country's "best goalkeeper".

Nick Pope has reportedly usurped Joe Hart in pecking order. Credit: PA

But Burnley's Nick Pope has reportedly usurped him in pecking order after Southgate called Hart on Monday to tell him he would not be in the squad heading to Russia.

It is a bold - and no doubt difficult - call, but Southgate said in March that he was being "really straight with him throughout" the selection process.

"Joe's professionalism has been brilliant with us," the England boss said after the March friendlies. "He's always performed well for us.

"We had the best defensive record in Europe in qualifying.

"This week, even though he knew he wasn't going to be involved in the games, he's been a positive influence on the other players."