James Milner defends under-fire Joe Hart

James Milner says that Joe Hart is a "victim of his own success" after receiving criticism for some recent displays for England and Manchester City.

England midfielder James Milner has leapt to the defence of club teammate Joe Hart by insisting that he feels "blessed" to be in the same team as the goalkeeper.

The 26-year-old has come in for some criticism as of late following below-par displays in Manchester City's 3-2 defeat to Cardiff City last month as well as the Three Lions' 3-2 win over Scotland.

Many also believe that Hart wasn't at his best last season, but Milner feels that the doubters are being far too harsh on the stopper.

"He's a victim of his own success," Milner told reporters. "People said he had a poorer season last season but he won the Golden Glove.

"When we played Borussia Dortmund last year [in the Champions League] it was one of the best goalkeeping performances I've ever seen. We could have lost that game 8-1 very easily and that's not exaggerating.

"I am blessed as a midfielder because if I miscontrol the ball I've got four defenders and a goalkeeper to save me. If Joe makes a mistake it's going to end up in the back of the net. That's the unfortunate thing about being a goalkeeper. But he is a top keeper and we're lucky to have him."

Both players are in the England squad to face Moldova and Ukraine in upcoming World Cup qualifying matches.

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Manchester City's Joleon Lescott in action during a friendly match against SuperSport United on July 14, 2013
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