Manchester City Boss Wants Shay Given to Stay and Warm the Bench

Eastlands boss hopes Irish keeper is happy to sit back and wait.

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July 31, 2010 - Manchester City's goalkeeper Shay Given reacts after missing a block during International play at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland. The team from Milan won the match, 3-0.

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini wants goalkeeper Shay Given to stay at the club despite seeing Joe Hart excel in the 0-0 draw at Tottenham.
Hart, who was preferred to Given, made a series of outstanding saves to earn his side a point and Mancini admitted he is his number one “for now”.
Asked if he was worried that bids may come in for Given, Mancini said: “I hope not. I hope Shay can stay here.
“At this moment, Joe plays. Because we have four competitions, we need Shay.”
The 23-year-old Hart, who returned to Eastlands this summer after spending last season on loan at Birmingham, could hardly have done more to stake his claim for the number one jersey on a permanent basis.
In the first half alone, he made three superb saves to deny a rampant Tottenham, stopping efforts from Jermain Defoe, Tom Huddlestone and Benoit Assou-Ekotto.
Hart’s performance even drew praise from Spurs boss Harry Redknapp, who felt his side could have handed City a hammering.

“All credit to Hart,” Redknapp told BBC Sport. “We were fantastic and created lots of chances but could not beat a great keeper who was in great form today.
“If we had got the goals we deserved in the first half then the game would have been all over. We just needed a break.
“If one goal goes in it’s a different game, they have got to open up and come out a bit more and I think we would have caught them again and scored a few more. ”
However, Mancini is eager that Given does not feel despondent about his first-team chances – and the Italian refused to say who would be his number one for the season.
“I’m sorry for one goalkeeper but today I chose Joe and I’m very happy to have Shay Given,” stated the Italian.
“I spoke to him. He’s a big name, he’s a big goalkeeper, he respects my decision.
“We have time, another 20 days, until the end of the transfer window. I respect every decision but I hope that Shay stays here.” (BBC Sport)

I wonder if a certain Steve Harper sent Shay Given a cheeky text message yesterday. The long suffering Newcastle United goalie spent 12 years warming the bench as the Irish international wowed the fans with his consistent performances and now the 34 year old Linfield man finds himself in an unaccustomed position of waiting for the player in front of him to make an error or suffer an injury.

Clearly Roberto Mancini would love Given to stay put but using the line “we have four competitions” will not exactly do the trick. We are talking about one of the finest keepers in the Premier League, will he be happy to play the odd game in the Europa League? I think not.

The likes of Arsenal have been sniffing around but Mancini may veto a sale to a team they may feel is a rival and that could leave the keeper in a sticky situation. He could opt for a move north of the border to Celtic, which Neil Lennon would no doubt welcome, but without being disrespectful, such a move would be a big backward step for a player who is trying to win significant silverware.

The next few weeks will be interesting and I can see the former Parkhead youth keeper looking for an exit now that is appears clear he will be playing second fiddle to Joe Hart, who put in a breathtaking performance at White Hart Lane.

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