herald

Friday 23 February 2018

Given to seek Ireland return and new club

SHAY GIVEN needs Ireland again but does Giovanni Trapattoni need him? It shouldn't take too long to get an answer and if Keiren Westwood is worried, he should be.

The news that Given is ready to dust down his international career and apply for an extension is difficult to process.

He hasn't played regular Premier League football for the last three seasons and anyone that reviewed his performance in the Euro 2012 finals, if they were honest, would be wary about welcoming him back.

The only evidence we have to go on is his decent enough from in the English League Cup this season and that's hardly enough.

The complicating factor is the fact that Westwood hasn't had a sniff at the Stadium of Light and is stuck behind one of the best in the business, Simon Mignolet.

Westwood's best chance of some game time is if Mignolet, coveted by clubs across Europe, is prised loose from Martin O'Neill's grasp by a big cheque in the next four weeks or in the summer.

If he was playing regular football, Given would have no chance of displacing him from the Ireland No. 1 position but he is not and Trapattoni will be tempted by this.

Trapattoni is the ultra-pragmatist and for that reason, it is possible that he will ignore the fact that Given gave him virtually no warning of his decision to quit when the announcement was made while Ireland were in Belgrade.

He took a conference with the Irish media to explain his decision scant hours after Trapattoni was informed.

Just days before that, Marco Tardelli and his boss confidently predicted that Given, Damien Duff, Richard Dunne and Robbie Keane would all sign up for the road to Brazil.

It is now obvious that neither Trapattoni or Tardelli did the legwork after Euro 2012 to make sure that their confident predictions will hold true and that Given was in no rush to keep his manager in the loop.

Most of the journalists who covered the Euro 2012 finals believed that Trapattoni would be lucky to hang on to one of the four and most of us felt that Duff was his best chance.

Circumstances dictated that Dunne would not play for Ireland in the current campaign to date and if speculation about a move to New York to reacquaint himself with Thierry Henry is accurate, it is very unlikely we will see him again in a green shirt.

BURDEN

Dunne, like Given and Stephen Ireland has been banking a very significant salary at Villa Park and Paul Lambert will move in the next three weeks to rid himself of that burden.

He has been told that he needs to cut the Villa Park wage bill before he can buy new players and it looks like Ciaran Clark will be the only survivor of the purge.

Once Dunne is fit for purpose, he will be gone and the most important question now for Given and indeed Trapattoni, is whether he can find regular football again.

The problem is the fact that he was on a huge salary at Manchester City where he was frozen out by Joe Hart and Roberto Mancini and held onto most of it when he signed for Villa.

Now, Given is in no position to make demands. He can only hope that there is a manager out there ready to take a punt and not just Trapattoni.

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