Given: Keane has delivered Villa a 'kick up the backside'
SHAY GIVEN believes the arrival of loan signing Robbie Keane has given all the other Aston Villa players "a kick up the backside" ahead of Saturday's clash at Keane's old club Wolves.
The Los Angeles Galaxy player showed his potential at Molineux before moving to Coventry and then a host of other clubs before linking up with Villa until the end of next month.
Goalkeeper Given feels it is important for Keane, his Republic of Ireland team-mate, to gain sharpness ahead of this year's European Championships and he appeared as a substitute against Everton last weekend.
He said: "I am delighted Robbie is here at Villa. He is a big personality and a big-game player.
"He has showed in training how big a player he is as well and got his first taste of action last weekend.
"He has given the changing room a big lift and given the manager (Alex McLeish) a headache now to get him in the team.
"When you sign a player of his calibre, it gives the whole dressing room a lift. It also gives everyone a kick up the backside, that he is breathing over their shoulder, or pushing the manager for a start himself."
Given knows how crucial Keane will be to Ireland's hopes of success in Poland and Ukraine this summer.
He said: "I know Robbie well and he will want to start a few games to get his match sharpness up for Ireland as well.
"It is important Robbie is in the fold here because we have a big summer coming up.
"We also saw with Thierry Henry last week against Leeds in the FA Cup that fairytales do come true sometimes. It would be amazing if he could score on Saturday, especially with it being a big derby at Molineux, where it all started for Robbie.
"But I am sure he would just want us to get three points."
Former Newcastle stopper Given is happy to be back playing after being sidelined for six weeks with a hamstring problem and made several fine saves against Everton.
But he has sympathy for Brad Guzan, who impressed during his absence before making way for the first-choice Ireland keeper.
Given said: "It is good to be back, I am not a very good patient.
"I thank the medical team for getting me back out there again.
"It has been a frustrating five or six weeks.
"Brad has done very, very well and he will have been disappointed not to have played against Everton.
"It just shows how good we have strength in depth at the club.
"It was important for Brad to show, not just to the people at the club who know him, but to fans up and down the country, (that) he is a very good goalkeeper.
"I think he has proved that over the last few weeks."