VILLA RETURN

Shay Given is set to return to Aston Villa at the end of February after negotiations involving him and Middlesbrough were brought to a stop as the Irish goalkeeper wanted to extend his loan deal with the English club but an agreement could never be made due to the high wages of Shay Given which is believed to be around €50,000.

The Chief Executive of the Football Association of Ireland John Delaney, praised the veteran shot-stopper as he considers Given to be the best Irish goalkeeper of all time. Delaney was attending the Donegal Sports Star Awards and during an interview he went to talk about his passion for sports as well as talking about the goalkeeper of Aston Villa.

“I love all sports. Ten county medals in Tipperary, four for Gaelic football, two for hurling and four for soccer. I played in a Munster Gaelic football final many years ago. One of my favorite sports in the world is hurling and I loved playing it. Shay Given, is probably the best Irish goalkeeper of all time; Packie Bonner, probably are the two best ever Irish goalkeepers” Delaney said as he responded questions and expressed his opinion about Shay Given.

The assistant coach of Ireland Roy Keane is taking into special consideration the performances of Shay Given in these last few months as the 37 years old goalkeeper is a candidate on being recalled for the national team.

Given’s last performance for Ireland was back in 2012 but his lack of playing time in Aston Villa saw him making a loan move to Middlesbrough where he tried to spark his career back to life and it is believed that Given has already been having talks with the head coach of Ireland, Martin O’Neil regarding the participation of the shot-stopper in the upcoming plans of the tactician.

OUT ON LOAN

The head coach of Middlesbrough, Aitor Karanka wants to keep Shay Given on an extended deal following his recent string of impressive performances that saw his team concluding their last 3 matches with consecutive clean sheets.

Shay Given was brought into Middlesbrough on November 28 on a loan deal which lasts until New Year’s Day but then will have to make his move back to Aston Villa. However, the impact Shay Given has made to the club has poised Karanka on extending the stay of Shay at least until the end of the season.

“Shay is very important for us because he brings a lot of experience and that transmits itself to the players in front of him. The club is working very hard to keep him because we know how important it is to have Shay here’’.

“And the most important thing is that Shay is very happy here, he is a big part of the changing room. Shay wants to stay, we want him to stay, he says he is happy here and he is playing well.” Karanka said.

Middlesbrough was forced to initiate a search in the transfer market when Jason Steele received a red card during the match against Leeds and following the sanction, Steele picked up an ankle injury that saw him extending his stay on the sidelines of the team until he is able to make a full recovery.

The 37 years old goalkeeper is just happy to be playing and will continue to be playing at his best whether or not it’s in Middlesbrough or Aston Villa

“I am just so happy to be back playing matches again.I was desperate to come out on loan once I was given a chance. The buzzes of the crowd, the excitement leading up to the game you just miss that so much.” Shay Given said.

COMEBACK HOPES

Shay Given has said that if the Republic of Ireland management wants him, he can think of making his comeback to international football.

Given had announced his retirement from international football after Republic of Ireland’s poor performance in the Euro Cup last year. He played a total of 125 matches for his country.

Given hasn’t featured for his club Aston Villa that much in recent times. Since his international retirement, he has played only 9 games for Villa. He is Brad Guzan’s understudy at the club at the moment.

In one of his interviews recently, when Given was asked about the chances of him making an international comeback, he said, “At this point of time, I am not getting playing opportunities even for my club. So, I can’t imagine myself playing at international level.”

“But, if Martin (O’Neill) thinks that I can do a job for the national team, I can think about coming out of my retirement. I would first like to talk to him face to face and then, we will see where it goes.”

“I want to feature regularly for my club. It has really been frustrating to sit on the sidelines for so long.”

When asked about David Forde who is the first choice goalkeeper of the Republic of Ireland national team at the moment, Given said, “He is playing quite well. He is an experienced guy and he knows how to go about his job.”

It has already been made clear by the Aston Villa management that Given will be put on sale during the mid-season transfer window.

Given has so far made a total of 37 appearances for Aston Villa since his arrival in 2011. Out of those 37 appearances, 34 were in his debut season.

Shay Given loan deal still not confirmed

Championship club Doncaster Rovers face an uphill task to convince Aston Villa goalkeeper Shay Given to drop down a division and join the club even if their proposed lucrative takeover by an Irish consortium goes through as expected this week.

Docnaster boss Paul Dickov confirmed to the media last week that they have made an enquiry with Villa about taking the player on a yearlong loan to aid their Championship campaign but admitted that they were still waiting to hear from the Villa shot stopper. According to Dickov, Doncaster Rovers contacted Aston Villa about taking Shay Given on loan for the season about two weeks back but they have yet to hear anything from either the club or the player.

And although he wants first team football, the former Newcastle United goalkeeper is not entirely sure about dropping down to the Championship just yet. Docnaster have been without a senior goalkeeper with their Championship campaign already underway and the club’s new potential Irish owners have made the Republic of Ireland international as their first choice.

According to sources in the Yorkshire region, the lucrative investment into the club could be finalized in the next 48 hours as well and with the Irish consortium taking charge, they are looking at Shay Given to garner support for the team back home in Ireland.

Given lost his # 1 shirt to American ‘keeper Brad Guzan last season and was handed the lowly # 35 shirt and was also told that he is free to leave the club before being asked to train on his own. Dickov has also denied that the club is looking to bring in Stephen Ireland from Aston Villa along with Shay Given, stating that since they are friends, people are putting two and two together and speculating on the deal.

Doncaster Rovers targets loan deals

Championship club Doncaster Rovers have targeted former Newcastle United goalkeeper Shay Given and Southampton front man Billy Sharp on loan as they look to add depth to the club to mount another challenge for a return to the top flight of English football.

Paul Dickov, the manager of the club has confirmed that they have made enquiries with their respective clubs to take the players on a season long loan deal but admitted that the deals are nowhere near completion. Given, a Republic of Ireland international, has fallen behind American goalkeeper Brad Guzan in the pecking order under Paul Lambert at Aston Villa. Meanwhile Sharp, who had a successful spell at Rovers before, scoring 41 times in 86 matches played last season on loan at fellow Championship club Nottingham Forest.

Speaking to BBC Radio Sheffield, the former Manchester City player stated that they were still waiting to hear back from the respective clubs. He mentioned that the club made an enquiry to bring Shay Given to the club on loan a couple of weeks back before adding that Sharp is a player who is thought of highly at the club and the club did lodge an official offer of a loan deal sometime back as well.

The striker left the club in 2012 to join the Saints as he helped them win promotion back to the Premier League but he only got a handful of matches in the top flight before being farmed out on loan. However, Dickov has denied that he has any interest in bringing Stephen Ireland, a former Manchester City midfielder who currently plays with Shay Given at Aston Villa to the club.

He vehemently denied that there were any enquiries into the availability of Ireland, who is a friend of the manager and added that the media is putting two and two together.

BENTEKE WORTH £25M

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert has praised striker Christian Benteke by saying that he is now worth close to £ 25 million after an impressive debut season in the Premier league. Aston Villa secured the signing of the 22-year-old from the Belgian club Genk in the summer. They paid around £ 7 million for this signature, which is looking like a great bargain after the striker has been able to terrorise defences with his presence on the field. Benteke is currently level with Chelsea striker Demba Ba after having scored 15 goals in the league this season.

Lambert has said that going by the potential transfer values of the players, Benteke could be worth around £ 25 million. Even though Benteke struggled to settle during his initial few months at Chelsea, he has been able to almost single-handedly help Aston Villa get out of the relegation zone. His impressive form has also meant that Darren Bent, who was signed by the club for £ 24 million, has been unable to feature regularly in the first-team.

Benteke has been touted as a potential transfer target for the likes of Tottenham and Chelsea in the summer. However, Lambert has said that he will certainly wait before offering the striker a new contract. Aston Villa have managed three wins in the last five matches.

“He is hot property. If you wanted to prise Christian away from here you would want a sizeable cheque, that is for sure. He has the potential to be fantastic. If you look at modern day figures then £25m is probably a good start. We can’t stop people looking at him but he is under contract here. He is enjoying his football at the moment and doing fantastically well. I will wait until the end of the season and I will sit with people,” said Lambert.

WEIMANN IN TALKS

The manager of Aston Villa, Paul Lambert, has said that he is talking to Andreas Weimann about the extension of contract and hopefully, he would be able to convince the 21 years old Austrian striker to sign a new deal.

There have been a few reports that Villa management wants to cut down the weekly wages of Weimann and the striker is not happy about it. So, he might be leaving the club after the completion of his contract.

Weimann was signed by Aston villa in 2007 when he was just 16 years old. He played for the youth team for Villa for 3 years. In the 2010-11 season, he got the chance to feature for the first team of Villa.

However, he didn’t get too many playing opportunities in the first half of the 2010-11 season and was placed on loan to Watford in the second half of the season.

Weimann’s form in the ongoing season has been quite good. He has looked in fine nick and is one of the few Villa players who have performed consistently in this season.

Weimann’s contract with Villa will finish at the end of the 2013-14 season.

When asked about Weimann’s contract extension, Lambert said, “I am trying to persuade him to stay here. He has been in superb form off late and we want him to sign a new deal. But, there are a few issues which need to be resolved. Hopefully, we would reach an agreement with him pretty soon.”

However, a few days back, Weimann had written on his Twitter account that the reports about him wanting to leave Villa are not true and he has no issues with anyone in the Villa camp.
Weimann has featured for Villa in 34 matches so far and has scored 7 goals.

GIVEN SATISFIED

The goalkeeper of Aston Villa, Shay Given, has said that he is satisfied with his performance in the FA Cup match against Ipswich Town and he hopes that he would get another starting opportunity in Tuesday’s Capital One Cup match against Bradford City.

Given has not started too many matches for Villa in the ongoing season. He has been given starting opportunities in only a couple of Premier League matches so far in this season. He had started the season as the first choice goalkeeper for Paul Lambert, but, after his disappointing performances in the first few games, the American goalkeeper, Brad Guzan took his place.

However, in the FA Cup match against Ipswich town, Given looked in fine form. He made two brilliant saves and helped his team securing a victory. After his impressive performance against Ipswich, he is expected to be included in the starting XI again in the next match against Bradford City.

When asked if it’s frustrating to sit on the bench in most of the matches, Given said, “Yes, it is a bit frustrating. As a player, you don’t want to watch the proceedings from outside. You want to be out there on the field stopping balls for your team. But, it happens in team sports. When you lose form, you have to sit out. I wasn’t in the best of forms at the start of the season and that’s why I lost my place.”

“It’s nice that I am back. I am pretty happy with the way I performed against Ipswich Town. I didn’t make too many mistakes and hopefully, the manager would give me another go against Bradford City.”

There have been a few reports that Given wants to play for his national side Ireland again. When asked about that, Given said, “I haven’t taken any decision yet. I need to talk to the manger of the Ireland team before announcing anything. But, it’s something which is in my mind at the moment.”

NO LOAN MOVE

The manager of Aston Villa, Paul Lambert, has made it clear that Shay Given will not be placed on loan to Hull City. In the last few days, there have been reports that Steve Bruce, the manager of Hull City, is interested in signing the veteran goalkeeper on loan and Given might be placed on loan. But, Lambert has said that Given is still quite valuable for Aston Villa and he is not interested in placing him on loan. However, Lambert confirmed that he was approached by the authorities of Hull regarding the loan move of Given.

Given’s weekly salary at Aston Villa is 60,000 Pounds and he still has more than three years left in his contract. He had joined Villa in the last season after leaving Manchester City. Villa had paid a transfer fee of 3 million Pounds for buying Given.

Talking to the reporters ahead of Villa’s match against Arsenal, Lambert said, “We are not going to place Given on loan. He is an experienced player and we need him. He has not been at his best in the ongoing season, but, he is still a vital member of the squad.”

Given had started the match against Manchester City. When asked if the veteran goalkeeper will be given the starting opportunities in the future matches as well, Lambert said, “We have two world class goalkeepers and we are looking to rotate them. But, frankly speaking, Guzan has performed better than Given in this season. So, there is a possibility that we will persist with Guzan in the next few matches.”

When asked whether Darren Bent has recovered from his ankle injury completely, Lambert said, “Yes, Bent has recovered and he is fit to play. He will probably be sent on to the field at some point of time in tomorrow’s match.”

GIVEN IMPRESSED WITH RODWELL

The Manchester City midfielder Gareth Barry has said that he is extremely impressed with both Jack Rodwell and Javi Garcia. The two players were signed by the club in the summer transfer window for combined outlay of more than £ 30 million.

The former Everton midfielder Jack Rodwell has been regarded as one of the brightest young prospects to come from the famed Everton youth academy. Meanwhile, the Benfica midfielder Javi Garcia has developed a reputation for being an extremely competitive defensive midfielder, who can also score a few goals. The 24-year-old was hugely impressive in the Champions League last season for Benfica.

The former Aston Villa midfielder Gareth Barry reckons that these two players will provide a lot of strength to the squad, as they look to retain the title they won last season. He has said that he is extremely impressed by the way Jack Rodwell has been able to settle at his new club. Javi Garcia scored in the debut match for his new club Manchester city against Stoke. Gareth Barry has praised Javi Garcia by saying that his English is already perfect and he is confident about settling quickly in the Manchester city first-team.

“Javi García and Jack Rodwell already seem to be settling in well. I know Jack better because he’s an English guy and been playing in the Premier League for a few years and he’s a great addition to the squad. I think he’s done really well in the first few games he’s played and he seems to have bedded in nicely. I’m sure that the longer he’s here and the more games he plays, he’ll get better and better,” said Gareth Barry in a recent interview. Barry has also said that he will certainly miss the Dutch international Nigel de Jong, who left for AC Milan.