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Sunday 17 December 2017

Given: We can fill Dunne void

REPUBLIC of Ireland goalie Shay Given believes Aston Villa team-mates James Collins and Carlos Cuellar can fill the void left by the injured Richard Dunne.

The giant centre-half will be missing for up to eight weeks after fracturing his collarbone in a heavy fall sustained in Villa's 1-0 defeat to Manchester City last weekend.

The Dubliner will be sorely missed but Given believes Dunne's defensive deputies will assume the leadership role at the heart of the Villa defence.

“It's a big loss because he has been the mainstay of our defence all season – he hasn't missed a game,” Given said.

“From that point of view he will be a big loss, but the other side of the coin is that when there is a suspension or injury it gives a chance to someone else.

“Someone else needs to step up to the plate now and fill the void left by Dunnie, and hopefully one of the lads will do that. Dunnie has been great in the sense that he is a leader and he has been the rock at the heart of this team.

“He is a loss and we will miss him but there is nothing we can do. For me, it's about looking at who can come in and help us get the results we need.”

FEARED

Given revealed how he feared the worst when he saw Dunne hitting the deck at Villa Park last weekend.

“You know when Richard goes down it must be bad, he's such a tough guy,” he added.

“It's difficult for any player being injured, but the other players will support him and we hope to see him back on the pitch sooner rather than later.”

The injury rules Dunne out of Ireland's upcoming friendly with the Czech Republic at the Aviva Stadium on February 29.

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