Monday 27 February 2017

Given relishing 'fresh start' as he lands move to Aston Villa

"I'm looking forward to training and playing with the players here. They're a good bunch of lads, very talented and I know several of them already, which will help.

"Obviously, I'm also excited to be working with Alex McLeish and it's going to be a fresh start for everybody at the club this season.

"It's also a new challenge and one I'm eager to embrace. My aim is to impress the Aston Villa supporters with my performances and I can't wait really to get started."

The experienced goalkeeper started his career as a youngster at Celtic, who he had been linked with all summer, before moving on to Blackburn and Newcastle.

His consistently impressive performances at St James' Park earned him a £7m move to City in the 2009 winter transfer window but, despite maintaining his form, he was relegated to the bench in order to give England's Joe Hart a run in the first team.

New Villa boss McLeish made Given his goalkeeping target after Brad Friedel left for Spurs earlier in the summer and the former Birmingham boss finally got his man before labelling his first acquisition at the club as "world-class".

"Shay has come here probably with something of a point to prove and that won't do any harm at all," McLeish said. "We believe we've secured the services of one of the best 'keepers in the business. He's a real competitor and a world-class 'keeper."

The signing of Given is expected to be followed by further arrivals as McLeish looks to find replacements for Ashley Young and Stewart Downing. The club have already had a bid for Wigan winger Charles N'Zogbia refused but are expected to go back with an improved offer, and they've been linked with Spurs defender Alan Hutton and West Ham midfielder Scott Parker.

Irish Independent

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