City's Hart in Birmingham loan move

PARIS (AFP) – Promoted Birmingham City have signed goalkeeper Joe Hart on a season loan from Manchester City, a report said Wednesday.

Hart, 22, has one England cap to his name earned a year ago against Trinidad and Tobago but lost his place at City after making some 50 English Premiership appearances after Irish standout Shay Given arrived from Newcastle United midway through last season.

City boss Mark Hughes allowed Hart to move on after signing Aston Villa keeper Stuart Taylor as cover for Given despite last season describing Hart as "one of the most promising keepers in the country".

Hughes told City's official website: "I have always said that Joe is a really good young keeper, and his talent was obvious to our goalkeeping coach Kevin Hitchcock and I from the outset.

"His contribution to the team prior to Shay Given's arrival was fantastic, but by loaning him to Birmingham, he will add invaluable experience to that already gained here at City.

"I know he will relish the prospect of regular Premier League action, which is vital at this stage in his career."

City are meanwhile said to be preparing a 15 million pound (22 million dollars) bid for England defender Joleon Lescott of Everton.

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