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Sunday 25 September 2016

Given gives Euro boost

Irish keeper has chastening return to action in Spurs loss

Stoke City’s Shay Given conceded four goals last night but will be glad he made a return to Premier League action after his injury lay-off. Photo: Reuters
Stoke City’s Shay Given conceded four goals last night but will be glad he made a return to Premier League action after his injury lay-off. Photo: Reuters

Shay Given picked the wrong game to make his first Premier League appearance in a year.

The Stoke City reserve keeper could do nothing to stop rampant Spurs run riot at the Britannia Stadium.

"This was a statement. What a performance by everyone. We're not going anywhere and this is what we can do. We're on Leicester's tail," said two-goal man Harry Kane after the 4-0 win.

Given , who turns 40 tomorrow, had his last Premier League appearance of any description in May last year when he had to pick the ball out of the net six times for Aston Villa.

This time, his net was rattled four times, twice by Kane and twice by Dele Alli giving Spurs the three points they needed to take full advantage of Leicester's slip against West Ham on Sunday and close the gap at the top of the table to five points.

For Given, this start was a vital step in his rehab after long-term injury and a relief to O'Neill for Euro 2016 having lost Rob Elliott after the Newcastle goalkeeper injured knee ligaments against Slovakia .

With West Ham out of the FA Cup and Darren Randolph back on the bench, Given's appearance for Stoke in the final five games of the season would come as a big boost.

Glenn Whelan played for 75 minutes and showed no ill effects after his back injury scare.

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