'Keeper Hart will play crucial role against Italy: Gerrard

England captain Steven Gerrard believes goalkeeper Joe Hart could prove the decisive influence as his team attempts to end their quarter-final curse against Italy here Sunday.

England goalkeeper Joe Hart makes an acrobatic save against Ukraine during the ongoing Euro 2012 in Donetsk recently.

Gerrard said the in-form Hart is poised to become recognised as the world’s best goalkeeper in future and may well tip Sunday’s Euro 2012 battle with the Azzurri in England’s favour. “We’ve got one of the best goalkeepers in the world and eventually he will go on to be the best in the world,” Gerrard said of Hart.

England skipper Steven Gerrard

“His performances so far in the tournament have been fantastic. He’s going to be one of our key players tomorrow night. We need Joe to perform to his maximum level because at some time in the game, or maybe in extra-time or even penalties he’s going to be called upon to make a fantastic save — and we all trust he can do that.”

England head into Sunday’s tie at Kiev in buoyant mood after topping Group D ahead of highly rated France. A five-match unbeaten streak since Roy Hodgson became manager last month has fuelled belief that England could reach the semi-finals here.

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