Championship side Newcastle United are seeking promotion to the Premier League under Coach Rafa Benitezthis season.

The former Liverpool boss has pushed out a lot of former players while bringing many others. However, there is a one that has the potential for something greater even though he is not getting that much attention at the moment; he is Freddie Woodman.

Woodman frustrated Pedro Caixinha’s team when they met last week, showing signs of what he could do. His reflex, swiftness and confidence in goal were crucial for Kilmarnock as they faced Rangers. The 20-year old goalkeeper seems like one that would go far with the right motivation and grooming.

The shot stopper is a regular in the England set-up in the age grade teams. He has played in every level from the Under 16 to Under 21. As the Magpies push back to the top flight, it would be a career boost if Benitez can bring the loaned out player back to the side as an assistant keeper to first choice Karl Darlow.

Woodman seems ready to make the big move, even ahead of Tim Krul and Rob Elliot who currently get the chance. The injuries of recent have affected Elliot even though he remains quite popular among the fans’. In addition, Krul has struggled at Ajax and Alkmaar.

The English keeper is deserving of the ranks when United return to compete with the big boys next season. He really has the potential to be the next Shay Given at St James Park.

Shay Given is eager on getting back into the pitch

The 40 year old Irish goalkeeper of Stoke City, Shay Given kicked off the 2016 season of the Premier League in a positive fashion as he was the first choice shot-stopper of Mark Hughes but the manager of Stoke City opted to drop Shay Given to the sidelines and Lee Grant is taking the center stage.

Shay Given has already retired from performing at the international stage and he wants to focus the remaining years of his career with Stoke City but taking into consideration that the Irish shot-stopper has had to settle with a place on the bench for over 4 months is something that has really hampered what might be one of his final seasons as a top player in what is generally considered to be as one of the most competitive leagues in the entire world of football.

“Personally, I’m disappointed, because I was playing and the manager made a decision to change it, but I’ll support Lee and all he does. Nothing changes. You’re still working together and you’re still trying to get in the team, but Lee’s come in and done fantastically well’’

“I’ve just come off the training pitch and I’m diving around like I’m still 19. I don’t think I’ll ever lose that.I love playing football and love the time with the lads. I know I haven’t got loads of time left to enjoy that, so every day you enjoy it even more. You’re happy to be alive when you get to my age! But no, I’m at that stage of my career where I’m coming to the tail end and you enjoy every training session and enjoy the group as well. It’s a great group of lads.”

This was the statement released by Stoke City’s Shay Given as the experienced goal-keeper said that he wants to get back into the pitch and take the position away from Lee Grant and that he is working hard to make it possible but things just have not been working out for him.


Veteran goalkeeper Shay Given has hailed the touchline antics of Chelsea manager Antonio Conte.

Given praised Conte for his energetic style as Blues coach, breathing fresh air into the team after their slump last term. Given, who plays for Premier League side Stoke City, reckons that Conte’s “madman” display has been refreshing to watch since his move to Stamford Bridge.

“It’s refreshing to see him down the touchline like a madman. Conte’s come in and done a great job,” Given opined. The 40-year old former Irish international disclosed that many people doubted the Italian due to the slow start before the team eventually picked up.

“He made a little bit of a slow start and I think people were questioning ‘does he know the Premier League?’ But now we’re talking about one of the favourites for the title,” Given added.

Given is one of the veterans with over 20 years experience in the Premier League since his days with Blackburn in 1994. Given started with Celtic youth team before his move to Blackburn. Given spent time on loan at Swindon Town and Sunderland before he eventually moved to Newcastle. Given remained with the Magpies from 1997 until he joined City at the Etihad in 2009. He played for Aston Villa and Middlesbrough before his switch to Stoke in the 2015/16 season.

“He’s sharp, got to learn the Premier League and it’s refreshing to see him down the touchline like a madman because he’s brought real character as well. It’s going to be an interesting race,” Given added about Conte and the race for the Premier League.

Chelsea have continued their recent winning streak, extending it to eight with their 3-1 victory over Manchester City during the weekend. They remain top of the standings, with Arsenal trailing behind in second place.


Stoke City goalkeeper Shay Given said that he knows nobody that works harder than his former Newcastle teammate, Fraser Foster.

Given claims that the player gives his all in training, tipping the shot stopper to usurp Three Lions No. 1 Joe Hart with time. The Southampton man just recovered from a knee injury but he has quickly regained full fitness.

Given and Forster trained together during their time at Newcastle. He revealed that the development of the player surprised staff on Tyneside a bit.

“I worked with him for a few years at and he was nearly too big. He was like 6 ft 5 in at 16 [years old] basically and we looked at him like, ‘is he too big?’ He was a bit clumsy with his feet and he was heavy-footed,” Given revealed to BBC 5 live.

“I don’t know anybody who works harder than Fraser Forster every day in training; not just that, in the gym and stuff [too].”
The 28-year-old player is a reliable hand for Claude Puel’s side. Since starting his career at Newcastle, he has spent time on loan at Stockport County and Bristol Rovers before his Southampton deal. Given believes the talented and hardworking player can be the country’s No.1 anytime soon.

“He’s proved to so many people how good a goalkeeper he really is,” claimed Given. “He played against Barcelona a few years ago for Celtic and the Barcelona media were calling him the human wall,” Given said hailing the English player.

“He’s a fantastic goalkeeper and he’s pushing Joe really hard. You’re only as good as your last game for your country and to be fair to Joe, he was Man of the Match in his last game, so Fraser might just be waiting a bit longer,” Given added.

Shay Given wants to push Jack Butland out of the first team

The 40 year old Irish goal-keeper Shay Given is eager and determined to become the main shot-stopper of Stoke City as he is currently being overshadowed by Jack Butland.

Shay Given was originally signed by Stoke City on July of 2015 and his initial purpose was to serve as a back-up option of Jack Butland but the veteran player wants to go beyond that and become a much more important figure in the Premier League club.

The pre-season is almost over and Shay Given has recently stated that he is feeling good and wants to continue being fit for as long as possible as the Irish player not only wants to be ready in case that he gets called up in any chance but also for him to be able to showcase his skills in any opportunity that is given to him.

‘’Pre-season is going very well over here in Orlando. I feel sharp and my body feels good so I’m trying to push Jack as hard as I can to get a position in the team.I need to stay professional and work hard every day on the training ground and, with the manager and coaching staff watching, you have to try and impress and show that I still have a lot to offer. If Jack does slip up or get injured then, you want to be there and take that position and given the opportunity I still think I can play in the Premier League.” Stoke City’s Shay Given said.

At the age of 40, it’s likely that these are the last few years of Shay Given performing at a high level and he wants to focus on the Premier League which is why the Irish player decided to finish his international career and just concentrate his remaining playing career time that he has with Stoke City.

Martin O’Neill decision was Questioned after Several Drops from Team

The Republic of Ireland couldn’t have done without three points in the Italy match which was their last match in the initial round in Euro.

So, it was a no-brainer that they would be using their first pick XI to play the game, but, Martin O’Neill, at that crucial juncture, dropped several of the first picks. It was questionable even though the Greens went on to achieve the necessary win.

But, as per O’Neill, he had felt in the match the team had played prior to the Italy match that a couple of players were not at the level of speed he would have liked and he knew that the Azzurri, having advanced, were going to bring in their back-ups to protect their main men for the pre quarter final and the back-ups coming in would be more energetic as they had not played any match till then. So, to counter them, more speed would be required from his side and that could only come from the players who were fresh. So, he thought of making changes.

O’Neill is thankful that the response of all those who were left on the side-lines, one of which was the deputy skipper John O’Shea as well, was professional and nobody really murmured about it.

O’Shea is one of the 6 players who have had a century of appearances for Republic of Ireland. His no. of appearances, which is 114, is lesser only to that of Robbie Keane and Shay Given. However, the Euro was probably the worst tournament in the career of the defender and the rumours of him retiring are on the peak.

But, O’Neill is looking for one more season from the veteran as he reckons he needs him in World Cup qualification matches.

Shay Given hoping to be in the starting lineup for the first game at the Euros

The Ireland goalkeeper Shay Given said that he still has hope to be in the first team for the match against Sweden.

He said that the manager, Martin O’Neill has not revealed yet which goalkeeper will be on the pitch for the first game.

Shay Given was the first choice at the last Euros in 2012 but has since lost his place to Darren Randolph. Indeed, the latter has been the preferred choice of O’Neill since the qualifying campaign, and it is very likely that things will stay that way at the Euros.

Given has stated that there are three good players for the goalkeeping roles and it will be up to the manager to decide. They all just want to keep hope at the moment and will wait for the manager’s choice.

Shay Given, who has just won his 134th cap for Ireland, said that he was pleased to be the longest-serving player for Ireland. However, he admitted that this did not mean much to him as he would have been happy to play for Ireland if it was only once. He said that it is always an honor to represent your country, and he was really glad that he has been able to do so for 19 consecutive years.

He said that Ireland has one of the oldest squads at the Euros, and this does not necessarily constitute a disadvantage. He said that the squad has plenty of experience in every department, and that can be an asset when you are playing at a major competition. He said that Ireland also has some good young players and hope that they can benefit from the experience of the older players.

He believes that Ireland can have a successful tournament if every player plays to their true potential.

Rafael Benitez wants every Player to Play upto their Potential

What Rafael Benitez wants off his Magpies is for them to use every bit of their playing potential to take the most out of the 18 points that’s left there for the taking as far as they are concerned.

As per Benitez, the pressure is both at the top as well as at the bottom of the table. If you are at the top, you are chasing the title, while, if you are at the bottom, you are chasing safety. So, there is a target in front of you either way and your supporters see that target as a success for you. But, in any situation, the players can just look to deliver their best and make sure they leave nothing in the tank. Having done that, they would have no regrets later on and the supporters would see that too and understand that.

After joining the job, Benitez has so far seen Newcastle just adding one more to their total of points. The first match he took the operations in his hand, it was against Leicester at Leicester and the Magpies lost there.

The next game at home, the Black Cats let them a draw with some lose play, but, it was back to losses again as they lost back to back against Norwich City and Southampton after that.

So, Benitez has not proved as talismanic as one might have imagined him to be with his heavy curriculum vitae.

Newcastle, however, is playing most of the matches at home now, four matches, to be exact, at home and only two away. So, that’s one shining light and that’s something that Benitez can draw a bit of positivity from.
It’s Swansea City which will be the visiting team at Upton Park this Saturday.

Shay Given expects NU to avoid relegations

Goalkeeper Shay Given expects his former club, Newcastle United, to avoid relegation against all the odds. Newcastle have been down in the drop zone for much of the season.

This led to manager Steve McClaren sacked from his role. The former England boss could not see out one single campaign with the Toon Army. Given played at Newcastle for several years and was regarded as a stable option for the managers. He has since moved to different clubs over the last couple of years and is now currently playing with Stoke City.

He was last seen at St James’s Park in 2009 and he represented the club in more than 350 matches. The club has already experienced a relegation once since the turn of the century. There is a distinct possibility that a second could be on the way. Newcastle are already cut off from the rest of the teams trying to avoid relegation with only Swansea being involved – apart from the three teams in the relegation zone. For a couple of years after coming back to the top division, Newcastle enjoyed relative stability due to the presence of Alan Pardew.

Pardew, though, was not welcomed by the club supporters who did not see him as one of their own, not least after he took the suad on a Southampton yacht charter rather than off on a boat in the Tyne.

“It isn’t a nice situation for them to be in, but I do really think that they will get out of it.They made some really strong signings during the January window and I think on paper, they look a really good side. I am sure that it will all click and they will pull themselves clear – hopefully, not until after Wednesday night’s game mind.There will be some anxiousness and nervousness around the place at the moment, but that is to be expected when there are only 11 or 12 games to go and you are involved in a relegation battle,” said Given.

Shay Given’s time on the sidelines is far from over

A knee injury that Shay Given suffered back in October of 2015 has kept the Irish shot-stopper on the sidelines of Stoke City for significantly long period of time but even if he does manage to fully recover from his recent injury, it’s highly unlikely that Given will see a lot of playing time as Jack Butland is the main goal-keeper of the Premier League club.

This injury has also forced Shay Given on having to sit out from the 2016 Euro’s play-offs of Republic of Ireland and things got so intense for Given that he had to undergo a surgery.

The injured Irishman has recently come out to the spotlight of the media as he defended the former Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood.

Tim Sherwood hasn’t enjoyed the best of times as a manager; he has been sacked from the only 2 clubs which he has taken charge of. After being sacked in the White Hart Stadium as the coach of Tottenham Hotspur in May of 2014, Sherwood tried his luck by taking charge of Aston Villa but his time as the manager of the team only lasted around 8 months as he went through a string of underwhelming results and now Sherwood is left without any coaching duties.
In spite of the negative results that Tim Sherwood and the successive sackings of Tim Sherwood, Shay Given has defended the English coach as Given said:

Shay Given said: “I have a lot of time for Tim, actually. Possibly he should have been given more time. He might not have been involved in the player recruitment, and if that’s the case, then it was a tough task for him. I think Tim will have a big future in football, and hopefully he does well.”

That was the statement released by Shay Given as the Irish shot-stopped said that Sherwood has a bright future ahead of him as a coach. Sherwood and Shay Given worked together in Aston Villa a few months ago before the English manager was eventually sacked and replaced by Remi Garde.