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Page last updated at 15:19 GMT, Wednesday, 24 June 2009 16:19 UK

Birmingham sign Hart and Espinoza

Joe Hart and Giovanny Espinoza
Hart and Espinoza have both completed their moves to Birmingham

Birmingham City have signed Manchester City's England Under-21 keeper Joe Hart on a season-long loan and completed a deal for Eduadorian Giovanny Espinoza.

Hart, 22, lost his place at Eastlands following the arrival of Shay Given from Newcastle United last season.

And Manchester City boss Mark Hughes has agreed to let Hart move to Birmingham after signing Aston Villa keeper Stuart Taylor as cover.

Espinoza, 32, has moved from Ecuadorian side Barcelona Sporting Club.

The powerful defender, who has won more than 80 caps for his country and participated in two World Cups - including playing against England in 2006 - has signed a two-year deal.

He also has previous experience of playing in Europe with Dutch club Vitesse Arnhem during the 2007-08 campaign and had spells at Aucas and LDU Quito (Ecuador), Mexican side Monterrey and Brazilian club Cruzeiro.

By loaning him to Birmingham, he will add invaluable experience to that already gained here at City

Manchester City manager Mark Hughes on Joe Hart

Espinoza told Birmingham's official website: "I'm very much looking to playing for this club. It's a new step in my football career and I hope I can help the team.

"I think I can bring experience to the defence as I've played a lot of games at club level and for the national team. My objective is the same as the team, to first of all help the club remain in the Premier League.

"On a personal level I hope to establish myself in the team, give 100% in every game and play as much as possible."

Hart, meanwhile, is currently with the England Under-21 squad in Sweden for the European Championship.

He signed a five-year contract with City in October 2008 and was described by Hughes at the time as "one of the most promising keepers in the country".

And Hughes admitted earlier this month that Hart could go out on loan in search of regular first-team football rather than sit on Manchester City's substitutes' bench.

606: DEBATE

Hughes believes Hart will return to Eastlands an improved keeper, telling City's official website: "I have always said that Joe is a really good young keeper, and his talent was obvious to our goalkeeping coach Kevin Hitchcock and I from the outset.

"His contribution to the team prior to Shay Given's arrival was fantastic, but by loaning him to Birmingham, he will add invaluable experience to that already gained here at City.

"I know he will relish the prospect of regular Premier League action, which is vital at this stage in his career."

Hart, who won one full England cap against Trinidad and Tobago 12 months ago, began last season as Manchester City's first-choice keeper but moved down the order following Given's arrival for an undisclosed fee on 1 February.

McLeish is ready to install Hart as his first-choice keeper ahead of Maik Taylor as the newly promoted Blues attempt to consolidate their position as a Premier League club.

Former Shrewsbury keeper Hart has previously had loan spells with Blackpool and Tranmere since joining City in May 2006. He has started 50 Premier League games for City.



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see also
Hart signs new Man City contract
26 Oct 08 |  Man City
Hart & Jagielka in England squad
11 May 08 |  Internationals
Man City snap up Barry for 12m
02 Jun 09 |  Man City
Man City chief voices top-six aim
19 May 09 |  Man City
Given completes Man City transfer
01 Feb 09 |  Man City


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