Sport Soccer

Thursday 30 March 2017

Given frustrated by life on the City sidelines

Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Shay Given will look to resolve his situation at Manchester City in January as he grows increasingly frustrated with his lack of action.

The 34-year-old will head into tomorrow night's friendly clash with Norway determined to make the Scandinavians pay for his personal misery as he wins a record 109th cap for his country.

Given has already played five times for Ireland this season, but just twice for his club having lost his place to Joe Hart at Eastlands.

That remains a source of intense frustration for a man still widely regarded as one of the best in the business, and it is a situation which he admits will have to be addressed sooner rather than later.

Given said: "My own personal situation isn't ideal as everyone knows and I have spoken about it in the past, so we will see what happens over the next couple of months in that respect.

"I want to be playing football and I have always said that, so hopefully something will happen in the new year.

"It's frustrating and I have already said I'm not coping very well, to be honest.

"But I can't change the situation at the moment and I have got to just keep my head down and see what happens over the next couple of months, I suppose.

"I'm delighted to be playing tomorrow. You just want to play football and if you are not playing, then it's extremely frustrating."

Given remains first choice for Giovanni Trapattoni and will edge ahead of the injured Kevin Kilbane - the pair are currently locked together on 108 caps - in the appearance stakes at the Aviva Stadium tomorrow night.

However, he admits his lack of action at club level - he has played only in the Carling Cup against West Brom and the Europa League against Lech Poznan and finished on the losing side on both occasions - is having a detrimental effect on his game.

He said: "It's very difficult to be honest. You try to work hard in training, but it's difficult to re-enact a match situation.

"Obviously, it's not an ideal situation I'm in and I wish I was playing more because I would feel sharper, but this is the position I'm in and I can't really change that.

"I played in Europe a couple of weeks ago with Manchester City and I have got the game tomorrow.

"I'm getting the odd game, but it's not ideal because you want to play every week.

"It's not an ideal situation, so to sit here and say I feel as sharp as I did when I was playing all the time, I would be lying.

"I don't feel as sharp as I possibly could be, but if I get back in the team and get a run of games, then I'm sure I will be back up to speed."

Given has also found himself in the midst of a media frenzy as City boss Roberto Mancini comes under increasing pressure after the club's latest eye-watering spending spree, although he insists some of the speculation is wide of the mark.

He said: "There's so much written about Manchester City, it's unfair at times.

"We have spent a lot of money on a lot of big-name players and outside of the club, the press are trying to say there are arguments every day and trying to make big stories out of small stories.

"That's part and parcel, I suppose, of being at a club with huge ambition and with fantastic owners behind us."

In the meantime, Given will try to catch Mancini's eye by performing for his country as he closes in on an elite trio of men.

Only Peter Shilton, David Beckham and Pat Jennings in Britain and Ireland have won more senior international caps, and with many goalkeepers now playing on beyond the age of 40, he has time on his side.

Given said: "I'm having a good rest at the minute, so maybe I can add that on to the end!

"Look at Edwin van der Sar, he's turned 40 there and he is still at the top of his game, and I don't see why he can't play next season as well, Edwin, because he's playing so well.

"There's definitely an argument that goalkeepers go on longer. We have normally got longer careers than the outfield players."

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