New England manager sees in-form Manchester City goalkeeper as bedrock for his Euro 2012 challenge.
Euro 2012: Joe Hart can be inspiration for England team, says Hodgson
The 25-year-old played a key role in first City's English Premier League title win in 44 years, and has firmly cemented his position as his nation's first choice goalkeeper.
And Hodgson, whose side open their Group D campaign against France on Monday, knows the value of a strong goalkeeper in inspiring confidence through the team.
"His form for Manchester City has been superb," said Hodgson.
"When he has played for England he has done very well and if we are to do well there is no doubt we will need Joe Hart in top form."
England have a tradition of world-class goalkeepers stretching back to Gordon Banks and the likes of Peter Shilton and current England coach Ray Clemence - but more recent shot-stoppers have found it harder to impose themselves as a regular first choice.
Hart, 25, can draw on the experience of his Premier League title success with City and Hodgson hopes he will prove a true bedrock for his side.
"If you look at the top England teams of the past we have often had a goalkeeper that people have suggested is one of the best in Europe or, in the case of Gordon Banks, in the world," Hodgson said.
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