Joe Hart faces a fight to convince Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini he should be the English champions’ first-choice goalkeeper this season after Willy Caballero was preferred in the Community Shield loss to Arsenal.
Hart, who was dropped by Pellegrini midway through last season following a string of high-profile errors, was an unused substitute at Wembley, with the City boss afterwards refusing to offer any guarantees over places.
“All the 22 players that we have in our squad must demonstrate who is number one in all the positions,” Pellegrini said.
“The goalkeeper and the other positions of the team are exactly the same.
“Joe finished last season playing very well. We’ll see next Sunday which 11 starts against Newcastle (in next Sunday’s Premier League opener).”
City had four Englishmen on the bench, including Hart, but none in the starting XI.
Nationality will not come into Pellegrini’s thinking during the season.
He said: “It doesn’t matter if they’re English players, American players, Spanish players. For me it’s exactly the same.
“In every competition we play I’ll play the team that I think is best to win that game.”
Pellegrini says he has little time to prepare his side for next week’s Premier League-opening trip to Newcastle, with numerous players having only recently returned following World Cup duty.
He said: “We have seven players who have just worked for five days. They were not considered for this game.
“We have another five players who have just worked for eight or nine days.
“It’s difficult to be ready in two weeks. Aguero, (Pablo) Zabaleta, (Martin) Demichelis, Kompany, (Bacary) Sagna, Fernandino just arrived seven days ago. They started working on Monday.
“They will have 15 days before we start the Premier League so we’ll see during the week which of them are ready and which of them are not ready.”
Captain Vincent Kompany was also watching from the stands - alongside Frank Lampard following his loan signing from New York City FC - as the fringe players did little to impress.
Santi Cazorla, Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud were on target as the Gunners sauntered to a second Wembley win in 85 days and a second trophy after May’s FA Cup defeat of Hull ended a nine-year drought.
Pellegrini was encouraged by the second-half showing after a poor first 45 minutes.
He said: “We had two different faces. First half we didn’t play with the pace we did the whole pre-season and Arsenal scored two goals because we didn’t defend very well.
“The second half we played well, with possession of the ball, we had chances to score. It was really near to the team that I saw in pre-season.
“It is always bad to lose, but we don’t need to worry.”
Pellegrini could soon add to his defensive options, revealing France defender Eliaquim Mangala is close to a move from Porto.
Pellegrini told BT Sport: “Some papers are maybe missing but we continue having interest in the player, he wants to come so we will see what happens in the week.”
Follow our sports coverage on twitter at @SprtNationalUAE