By Jeremy Cross
JOE HART is devastated after discovering he won’t play in the FA Cup Final.
The England goalkeeper has been left heartbroken following the news Costel Pantilimon will definitely line up for Manchester City against Wigan at Wembley next month.
Hart was left on the bench for City’s 2-1 win against Chelsea in Sunday’s semi-final.
He was praying boss Roberto Mancini would recall him for the final on May 11 as the Premier League champs look to win their second FA Cup in three seasons.
But no-nonsense Mancini has already told Pantilimon he will continue in goal following his impressive display at the weekend.
Pantilimon has started every one of City’s FA Cup games over the last two years. But Hart was hoping the final might be different.
The snub will do little to ease the strained relationship between Mancini and England’s No.1. The pair fell out when the Italian publically criticised Hart following the Champions League defeat to Real Madrid at the Bernabeu last September.
A club source told Starsport: “The relationship has been strained for some time so it is probably no surprise that Joe wasn’t afforded the courtesy of an arm around the shoulder and an explanation.
“Costel is so delighted at being given the nod for the final and Joe has tried his best to take it on the chin.
“He has no ill feeling whatsoever towards Costel, because he is a professional and wants what is best for the football club.
“But on a personal level he is devastated – football careers are short and who knows when he will get the chance to play in a cup final at Wembley again.
“As long as Mancini is at the club this policy of using the back-up goalkeeper for FA Cup and League Cup games will remain.
“In other words, Joe could be looking at half-a-dozen cup fi nals where he is watching from the bench.
The only Wembley run-outs he will get are for England.”
Mancini, meanwhile, ripped into his stars – despite beating Chelsea to reach the final.
Starsport understands the players were left shocked when Mancini gave them a dressing down for almost allowing Rafa Benitez’s men back into the game in the final 20 minutes.