Aston Villa goalkeeper Shay Given hoping to reclaim starting role under Sherwood

Shay Given

Shay Given is hoping that the chance of a clean slate under new boss Tim Sherwood will lead to a place in the starting XI for Saturday's home match against Stoke.

Aston Villa goalkeeper Shay Given has told the club’s official website that he is hoping his performance in the 2-1 FA Cup win over Leicester will have convinced new manager Tim Sherwood to hand him a start for the weekend’s visit of Stoke.

Given, 38, has made 440 Premier League appearances since his top-flight debut for Blackburn Rovers in 1996, going on to establish himself as one of English football’s premiere shot-stoppers between successful spells at Newcastle United and Manchester City, respectively, before sealing a £3.5 million move to Villa in 2011.

However, the Republic of Ireland international has been confined to the bench since losing the number one role to Brad Guzan at the start of the 2012-13 campaign, and spent three months of last season on loan at Middlesbrough.

While restricted to cup action this term, a man of the match performance under caretaker boss Scott Marshall in the fifth-round tie against the Foxes has led some pundits to argue that Sherwood should reinstate him as first-choice moving forward, and Given has admitted that the chance of a “clean slate” has left him desperate to impress.

“Everyone always says when a new manager comes in it's a clean slate for all the players and it's no different for me,” Given said. “We're all trying to impress the new boss and we all want to play this weekend against Stoke.

“I've hopefully done myself no harm with my performance in the game against Leicester. Brad and I have a good working relationship here at the club and whoever gets the nod will get well backed by the other.

“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 and Sherwood were in fact teammates at Blackburn during the mid-90s, with the veteran keeper making his debut for the club when his new boss was captain.

He has seen those leadership qualities showcased again during their first Villa training sessions together, and is now adamant that the former midfielder is the right man to take the club forward.

“I've not worked with him as a coach or manager before but being out there in our first training session it's obvious he knows what he wants from the team - and how he wants us to play,” Given added.

“Straight away he's instilled a few things into the team about how he wants us to play. That's very much on the front foot and being really positive on the pitch - I think that'll stand us in good stead.”

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