Shay Given says Rafa Benitez must drill home importance of Tyne-Wear derby to Newcastle's foreign contingent

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The former Newcastle and Sunderland goalkeeper has had his say on the derby.

Newcastle United take on Sunderland this weekend in a massive Tyne-Wear derby - with both teams also battling relegation.

Newcastle are currently second from bottom whilst Sunderland are one place outside the bottom three.

It is a game that Shay Given knows well. He featured in this fixture often during his eight years at Newcastle and he also had a spell on loan at Sunderland back in 1997.

The veteran 'keeper, now with Stoke City, certainly knows what this fixture means to the fans of both clubs. Which is his main concern for this fixture? Do Newcastle's current players know what this game means?

He told Sky Sports News HQ this week (16/03/2016) of his hope that new manager Rafa Benitez got this message across to the Newcastle players:

"It's a massive game. Huge for both clubs, it's definitely a six-pointer. They're both in the relegation fight and it's going to be so close who stays up.

"My only concern is there's a lot of foreign players at Newcastle now and sometimes you question, do they know what it means to play in a game like this? What it means to the fans?

"You'd like to think that maybe this week Benitez can get that message across."

Given will be banking on Benitez managing to fire up the foreign players, as well as homegrown talent such as Steven Taylor and former Black Cat Jack Colback, for this massive fixture.

Benitez, who also has a personal rivalry with Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce, will certainly be hoping to win over his new fans with a crucial North-East win this weekend.

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