Shay Given accepts his career at Aston Villa is all but over, and now believes the Premier League giants want to get shut of him as soon as possible.
The Republic of Ireland international was once regarded as one of the safest pairs of hands in the country, and to a certain extent he still is, but he has lost his place in the Villa side to Brad Guzan. And to be fair to the American goalkeeper, he has performed admirably since establishing himself as Paul Lambert’s number one selection.
Given has just returned from a loan spell at Middlesbrough, during which he served a reminder of his ability with 10 clean sheets in 16 appearances. The Championship side were keen to extend his stay until the end of the season, but the Midlands side objected as this would be removed their right to recall him at 24 hours’ notice.
Although the 37-year-old still has two years remaining on his contract at Villa, he accepts he is unlikely to persuade Lambert that he is a better option that the 29-year-old Guzan. For that reason, he feels his time at the club is all but over, and he believes his desire to move on is also shared by his current employers who are equally keen.
“Hopefully something will happen in the summer somewhere,” he told the Birmingham Mail. “It has been really frustrating not playing. That’s obvious for everyone to see and the window doesn’t open until the summer, so maybe there is a Championship club out there who might want me. I might go back out on loan again somewhere before the end of March. Aston Villa want me out of the door, so something might happen.”
Given began his professional career at Blackburn Rovers in 1994, having developed through the youth ranks at Celtic. He spent three years in Lancashire, during which time he had loan spells at Swindon Town and Sunderland. It was his time at Newcastle United, though, in which he firmly established himself as one of the best shot-stoppers around.
The Irishman spent over 12 years at St James’ Park, but the lure of the exciting times at Manchester City was too much for him to resist in January 2009; later that season the Magpies would be relegated, which many believe would not have happened had Given stayed. He lost his place in the Blues side to Joe Hart at the start of the 2010-11 season, and spent much of the campaign on the bench before joining Villa for £3.5million.