Former Aston Villa goalkeeper David James sounds warning to Brad Guzan

Shay Given

The ex-England international believes Shay Given's impressive FA Cup form could see him reclaim Villa's number one job from the US international.

Former Aston Villa goalkeeper David James has backed Shay Given to push Brad Guzan for the club’s number one job next season, the Birmingham Mail has reported.

Given, 38, has been forced to back up 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.

The Irishman has impressed when given the chance to show his worth, however, helping Tim Sherwood’s side make the weekend’s FA Cup semi-final against Liverpool with a string of impressive starts through each round of the competition.

After coming out of international retirement in August, the veteran shot-stopper has expressed his need for regular first-team football in order to fend off competition from Milwall’s David Forde and James argues his form suggests he is deserving of it.

The ex-England starter stresses that Guzan himself has done nothing wrong to lose the job but believes that, if his positional rival does go on to help Villa lift silverware come the end of the campaign, then the club could be looking at a new man between the sticks next season.

“Shay’s history and ability tells me that he is good enough to play,” said James. “He’s earned the right to play and if Villa do go onto win the FA Cup we could be looking at a new No.1 next season.

“He moved to Manchester City [from Newcastle United] but with Joe Hart coming through he didn’t have as much joy as he would have hoped.

“To then go to Villa and play well, albeit in the cups, he should be asking to be No.1 next year.”

Given and new Villa manager 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 fifth-round performance against Leicester.

Guzan has kept his league place since, however, but the US international isn’t expect to start at Wembley Stadium against Liverpool, with Sunday afternoon’s clash set to be another chance for his elder teammate to stake his claim for more action.

“I know Brad has been playing well for the last couple of years and believe me, because I’ve been there, it’s frustrating not to be involved in the FA Cup,” added James. “But Shay has taken his chance.

“In a way the FA Cup team have kept Villa ticking along so I think it would be unfair for Shay not to play.”

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