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Shay Given’s ‘nearly-man’ tag looks set to stick

February 23, 2011

Matt Le Tissier is widely regarded as the most well known Premier League player whose loyalty to his beloved club as well as a lack of ambition cost him further honours both domestically and internationally that his talents perhaps deserved.

But goalkeeper Shay Given may well become the 21st century example if he looks back on his impressive but ultimately trophy less career in a few seasons time.

Irish international Given is set to miss the rest of the season with a shoulder injury and therefore it appears his brief flirtation with Manchester City is over.

The 34-year-old signed for the Blues in January 2009 with a desire to win trophies. At that stage Newcastle were on their way down to the Championship while City were busy collecting any player who commanded a sizeable transfer fee in order to demonstrate their new found financial strength.

Despite accusing the Magpies of not doing enough to keep him the Newcastle supporters wished Given well as he had given them 12 years loyal service and stuck with them through thick and thin in the hope they would win a trophy.

But in the end, with his years advancing, he took the gamble to jump ship to City. Unfortunately it hasn’t really worked.

Not only have City failed to win a trophy their spending should really command but Given is now second choice to Joe Hart, only making fleeting appearances in the cups this season. Plenty of people will be considering placing a football bet on City to win the FA Cup this season, but even if they do Given won’t be part of the team when it happens.

Goalkeepers can continue on until their late thirties or in Edwin Van Der Sar’s case into their forties so Given may still have time on his side. But his next move, possibly his last, is a critical one if he wants a few medals to with his vast collection of international caps. He needs to prove first that he is still good enough to compete at the top level – not easy from the substitute’s bench – as a drop down the divisions will all but signal an end to his hopes.

If he can then maybe he could end his career on a high and console himself with a quote linked to his nation’s most famous tipple: Good things come to those who wait.

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