herald

Thursday 14 December 2017

'Aiden's ready to fire' Given expecting fireworks from McGeady in Hungary

SHAY GIVEN has warned Hungary's defenders that they're in for a gruelling evening against an in-form Aiden McGeady in Budapest tonight.

Giovanni Trapattoni confirmed at his pre-match press conference here in the Hungarian capital last night that he will field his strongest XI, the side likely to take the field against Croatia in Poznan next Sunday, so that means that James McClean -- who started against Bosnia nine days ago -- drops to the bench and McGeady comes in to reclaim his place in the starting line-up.

Good news if you're Irish, bad news if you're Hungarian, according to Given.

"Aiden was man of the match against Bosnia the other week and rightly so," says Given. "He mesmerised their full-back and set up a good few chances, we hit the post and crossbar and scored a goal from it, so when Aiden's on that sort of form he's hard for any defender to play against and we hope that continues into the tournament."

Ireland go into tonight's game defending a stunning 13-game unbeaten run, and logic dictates that tonight's result is meaningless because the only result that matters is next Sunday against the Croatians in Poznan, but Given insists that a win is important to build confidence.

"We'd love to win tonight," Given said after last night's training session in the warmth of a Budapest night in the Ferenc Puskas Stadium.

"Hungary had a good win on Friday night (against the Czech Republic) so they're obviously a good team, we don't know a lot of their players and they're at home too so they'll be a tough game for us, but it's just about us keeping our match fitness up and it's important we put in a good shift.

"We'd love to win tonight and keep that going to Sunday. The big one is next Sunday, but we'd like to go into that with a win under our belts."

Swelling

The main thing for many Irish fans is the fact that Given is playing tonight, the Aston Villa man insisting that he's free from all his injury woes and worries.

"It's nice to be out training again," Given told the Irish media after an hour-long training session, the Irish keeper of course having sat out the win over Bosnia due to his injury worries.

"Obviously I'm just looking forward to getting out there playing again.

"It's been a couple of weeks since the end of the Premier League for me personally, I didn't play in Dublin or Italy either. It will be nice to get a game under my belt before Sunday of course.

"There was fluid on my knee or swelling or whatever and until that goes away you'll obviously have doubts, I suppose.

"But the knee's totally fine now, there's no fluid and it's totally back to normal and that's a big relief.

"Of course there are doubts if it's hurting or if there's swelling, that's just normal.

"Yesterday I just had a problem with my big toes, had blisters on my big toes. I just felt it was better to leave it yesterday, train today and I feel fine for today.

"Touch wood the knee's been okay.

"But you look at other countries and players dropping out, it's just the nature of sport, the nature of football.

"It takes just one tackle in training or a game to knock you out. Touch wood we can stay clear of that," says Given, who says that his injury -- and the fact that the finals now are so close -- will not play on his mind tonight.

"No, once you cross the white line and you're playing an international representing your country, you're very much focused on what you need to do.

"If you go in half-hearted to a tackle or whatever, that's when you can come out worse. You have to stay focused on what you're doing," he says.

"I think it's probably different for an outfield player. If you get a twinge as a goalkeeper, well, that's probably normal.

"It depends on what it is, or how bad you think it is.

"The players will probably want to come off if they think that they might do something worse."

Promoted articles

Entertainment News