Unrealistic goals? Aston Villa's Shay Given wants his job back

Shay Given

The Villa backup is determined to reclaim the number one spot from long-time starter Brad Guzan.

Shay Given has not given up hope of reclaiming Aston Villa’s number one job, as the veteran goalkeeper told the Irish Times following the Republic of Ireland’s 1-1 draw with Poland in their Euro 2016 qualifier.

Given, 38, has been forced to backup Brad Guzan at Villa over the past three seasons, aside from spending a three-month loan spell at Middlesbrough last term, with his opportunities to impress restricted to cup action.

After coming out of international retirement in August, the 128-times capped stopper made his first competitive start for Ireland since Euro 2012 on the weekend but knows that he will need regular first-team football in order to keep Milwall’s David Forde on the bench.

A summer move remains an option, despite having a contract until 2016, but, after starring during Villa’s run to the FA Cup semi-finals, the former Newcastle United star believes he can still unseat Guzan.

“I’m delighted to have played for Ireland [against Poland] again,” he said. “I didn’t have an awful lot to do but it’s up to me to try to get in the Villa team again now.

“I’ve got a cup semi-final coming up in a couple of weeks and there’s the England game in June as well and the Scotland game too so hopefully I can show Martin O’Neill how good I am over the coming weeks.”

Given and new Villa manager Tim Sherwood were in fact teammates at Blackburn Rovers between 1994 and 1997 and it had been mooted that his former captain could reinstate him following his starring FA Cup performance against Leicester.

Guzan has kept his job since, however, and, considering the US international is one of the most well-regarded keepers in the Premier League, the Irishman’s goal to get back in the line-up seems somewhat ambitious.

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