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Wednesday 13 December 2017

Shay Given: 'I'm desperate to keep my place in Villa side to help Ireland chances'

Shay Given
Shay Given

SHAY Given says he’s “desperate” to keep his place in the Aston Villa side this weekend as the Ireland veteran also tries to reclaim his position with the international team.

Given, 38, made only his fourth appearance of the season for his club in Villa’s 2-1 win over Leicester City in the FA Cup last weekend, the Donegal man named as his side’s man of the match as they advanced to the last eight of the Cup.

USA international keeper Brad Guzan dislodged Given as first-choice keeper at Villa Park some time ago - Given’s last Premier League appearance was back in August 2012 - and new boss Tim Sherwood is likely to reinstate Guzan for tomorrow’s meeting with Stoke City, a vital game for Villa in their battle to avoid relegation.

Martin O’Neill is expected at Villa Park for that game as he’s keen to see how injured Stoke pair Marc Wilson and Jon Walters are progressing but Given would also love a chance to impress the Ireland boss, who will in three weeks’ time name his squad for the key qualifier against Poland.

“Brad and I have a good working relationship here at the club and whoever gets the nod will get well backed by the other,” says Given.

“I’ll be desperate to play, though. I’d love to be between the sticks against Stoke on Saturday. But that will be down to the gaffer.”

Given has appeared in recent international friendlies against Oman and the USA but faces a battle to dislodge David Forde from the No. slot with Ireland

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