Hart love for departing Given

Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart has paid tribute to fellow Eastlands custodian Shay Given amid reports of a move to Aston Villa.Given, a 113-cap Republic of Ireland international, was forced onto the bench last season as Hart emerged to become Roberto Mancini’s first-choice goalkeeper.

The 35-year-old is regarded as one of the best custodians in the English Premier League and was always likely to secure a move elsewhere if he could not force his way back into Mancini’s line-up.

That move now seems to have been realised as reports in England suggest Aston Villa have agreed a fee with City to take over the remaining two years on Given’s contract.

New Villa manager Alex McLeish needs a replacement for Brad Friedel, who joined Tottenham in June, and has reportedly agreed a figure in the region of 3.5 million pounds.

Hart says Given will be missed for the supporting role he played at the Eastlands behind Mancini’s preferred number one.

“He’s brought huge amounts, not just in those two years as I’ve watched Shay for years and years in the Premier League,” Hart said.

“He’s arguably the best keeper consistency-wise in the league. He did great things at Newcastle.”

“He’s a great trainer, he knows his body, knows what he needs to do, knows what he doesn’t need to do and he’s been really supportive to me and understanding of the situation.”

“From my personal point of view, as well as goalkeeping, he’s been admirable and someone I look up to massively and aspire to be like.”