Football FanCast columnist Tom Jones thinks that Shay Given is worth more to Man City than any of the superstars they bought in the summer.
Manchester City and Ireland goalkeeper Shay Given has been one of the best ‘keepers in the Premier League for a number of years and was a very shrewd purchase by Mark Hughes. His performance against Birmingham on Sunday showed just how much he offers the club and Given almost single-handedly salvaged a point for City. Even though the Irish keeper is never going to get the publicity and recognition of some of his international teammates, he could well be Hughes’ best buy so far.
Shay Given’s ability was further illustrated yesterday as a number of saves including one from a penalty earned his side a clean sheet. His transfer to City in January didn’t get much media coverage, but Newcastle fans certainly knew what a good ‘keeper City were getting. The Irishman has consistently been at the top of his game for a number of years and I would challenge anyone to find a better ‘keeper in the Premiership. Given is in the prime of his career, he does everything with little fuss, is a great shot stopper, is safe on crosses and hardly makes a mistake. If City win any silverware in the near future, Given should be the first player to be congratulated.
His manager certainly appreciates what the Irishman brings to the club. After the match on Sunday Hughes told The Daily Mail “Shay played very, very well. He saved a penalty and there were other key moments in the game when he kept us in it. He is an outstanding keeper. He has produced it regularly throughout his career.” And for me that’s what sets Given apart from the rest of the ‘keepers in the Premier League, as he has been reliable and up to the task when called upon for a decade now. I’m sure that if you offered his services to any top European club they would be hard-pressed to say that they already had a better ‘keeper on their books.
Not only is Given highly talented but he must also be a manager’s dream even if he’s not first choice on the marketing front. He brings experience and a calm head to the City dressing room, is never involved in trouble off the field and you know exactly what you are going to get from him. Some people say that ‘keepers save you about 10 points a season, but when Given was at Newcastle I can guarantee you that his contribution was worth at least twice as much as that. If Ireland make it to the World Cup this month then Given will have played 2 storming games, and the Irishman will be able to showcase his talent on the world’s biggest stage and finally get some well-deserved recognition.
City goalkeeper Shay Given could well be the ultimate definition of an unsung hero. The Irish shot stopper is a consistent performer and will never let his manager down even though he gets little media attention. Given must surely be the best £7 million that City will ever spend. The question is will Given be Hughes’ greatest signing despite the millions of pounds he has spent on other world-class players?