As Joe Hart single handedly shut out Tottenham at White Hart Lane, his predecessor could only look on from the bench and admire. But Hart’s justification will offer little consolation to Republic of Ireland keeper Given who admitted he would consider quitting Manchester City if he was dislodged from the number one spot.
A player of Given’s quality dictates that leaving him out will naturally initiate transfer talk with Arsenal and Fulham at the forefront of mooted destinations.
However, would it not be worth City’s neighbours Manchester United stepping in to provide the first team opportunity this great keeper craves?
His undisputable pedigree would perhaps be the perfect replacement for Edwin Van Der Sar whose contract expires at the end of 2010/2011season with retirement on the horizon.
Given was a model of consistency during 354 appearances for Newcastle and has arguably been one of Manchester City’s best signings amidst the millions they have spent, typified by his excellent 2009-2010 campaign.
And whilst Joe Hart’s rise to prominence will please Capello, Given is particularly disappointed when he reflects upon just how good he has been at Eastlands.
Given said: “I haven’t joined City to sit on the bench, I’ve gone there to play. If that’s not the case, I’ll sit down on Monday with the club and see where I can go after that.” He added: “Joe did well last year and deserves great credit for that but I’d like to think I did OK at Manchester City.”
If Sir Alex Ferguson decided that Given was the man to replace Van Der Sar, he would be buying an excellent goalkeeper who has made 402 Premier League appearances to date and despite being the wrong side of thirty his ability shows no sign of diminishing.
Roberto Mancini wants to keep hold of the Irishmen but what he must understand is that having a plethora of world-class players means that at some point in time, they will become unhappy warming the bench at the City of Manchester Stadium, especially when they harbour international ambitions.
If United do make a move to secure Given as the man to supplant Van Der Sar, it will gift the want away goalkeeper the first team opportunity he deserves after 13 years of excellent top flight goalkeeping.
One thing is for sure, there are not many better goalkeepers around than Shay Given.