Joe Hart knew Pep Guardiola’s mind would not be swayed so England’s No. 1 had no hesitation in starting afresh in Italy.
Life at Manchester City has been transformed over recent months, with the club’s new Spanish coach wasting little time shaping the squad and getting players attuned to his philosophy.
The changes have resulted in some high-profile casualties at City, with Yaya Toure marginalised and several other high-profile names shifted out.
Hart was the biggest outgoing as Guardiola’s preference for a goalkeeper more comfortable in possession led the 29-year-old to lose his starting berth, resulting in a surprising loan move to Italy with Torino.
“Football is a game of opinions and some people have a great opinion of me and some people probably think I’m absolutely useless,” said Hart, who kept a clean sheet in England’s 2-0 win over Malta on Saturday.
“Unfortunately for me, one of the guys’ opinions in charge of my club at the time wasn’t as strong as it needed to be. So I needed to find someone who had an opinion of me who thought I could help their team.
“I need to improve and improve all the time because I’m still learning the game and the game is changing all the time.
“I love trying to improve — I love that challenge. I want to keep developing until I physically can’t.”
Claudio Bravo was brought in as Guardiola looked for a shot-stopper more suited to his philosophy, but Hart is unsure whether there are two distinct style of goalkeeping.
“I have to think selfishly about the whole thing and try to be what I’m capable of being,” Hart said. “People have their opinions and will make statements on how things are and what they are.
“They might be right, they might be bang on. Some people you struggle to argue with — they’ve got a lot of strong backing to what they say and what they do.
“But I can only really look after me. I’m always looking, I’m always watching — I see new ideas, I like new ideas and I’ve got to work to my capabilities. Whatever I’m capable of, I need to be the best I can.”
Hart has no regrets about how life panned out at City, nor his decision to move to join Sinisa Mihajlovic’s Torino.
“I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t sat there with 25 options,” Hart said. “Torino was a really good option for me and it definitely excited me to go to play in Serie A and to play for Torino. That fit, in the situation I was in, was a good decision.
“It’s not about making brave decisions. It was a decision I had to make and was comfortable with.
“I felt I was capable of doing it and where my options were it was the best one for me in my opinion.
“I’m at Torino with huge commitment to the club, huge commitment to the season, the culture, the football and I’m going to give it my all. Whatever happens, happens.”
Hart was coy when asked if it was realistic for him to return to City, but more forthcoming on other matters.
His desire to play for club and country for years to come has seen him take greater care of himself physically, while he believes the Three Lions would benefit from more of a group focus on style and substance.
“I think it’s definitely down to us to create an identity of the team that we are trying to be,” Hart said.
“Win, lose or draw, I think we need an identity of why we won, why we lost, why it didn’t go very well.
“That’s a big thing for me. As I am learning more and more about the game, it’s easier to move on if you know why things have happened.”