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Sunday 20 August 2017

Jack injury opens the window for me: Given

Shay Given is wasting no time in planning his return to the Stoke City side in place of the injured Jack Butland as the Ireland 'keeper hopes to appear in the Premier League next weekend.

An injury sustained by Butland in last week's England friendly has ended his season, and opened up the door for Given to stake a claim. The Donegal man has not played for club or country since aggravating a knee injury during the Euro 2016 qualifier at home to Germany last October but due to that knee injury to Rob Elliot in last night's game against Slovakia, Given's fitness is now even more urgent for Ireland. "I feel I could play at the weekend," says Given.

Gaffer

"It's a window for me to play at the weekend. I haven't spoken to the gaffer [Mark Hughes] at Stoke yet. It's misfortune for Jack, the injury and an operation yesterday to put the bone back in place.

"He's had a great season, Jack, but it's an opportunity for me to get back into the Premier League, to play and try to get on the plane [to France]. The lads who were playing last night were all fighting to get to France in the summer and I am no different.

"It has given me a lift, something to pick me up in the gym and being in training yesterday it was a buzz for me. Jakub Haugaard, the Danish keeper, is there and it will be either me or him who starts on Saturday, there were a couple of U21 games pencilled in for me to play next week but I don't know if they have been shelved now," added Given.

"If I don't play on Saturday, I will play next week for sure [in the Stoke U21s], but I would love to play on Saturday against Swansea."

Given says he's still on Ireland's radar and met manager Martin O'Neill before last night's game.

Department

"I spoke to the gaffer and the players, it was nice to catch up with them as it was a long few months, he was in good spirits, asking how I was, how the knee was, and I am hoping to get back into the Stoke team to make his decision in the goalkeeping department a bit more difficult," added Given. O'Neill will assess the fitness of Elliot but if the Newcastle man is ruled out, Given will move closer to a place in the squad.

His club-mate Marc Wilson, who has also been out, says he's also making progress from injury and hopes to be back in full training with the club this week.

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