Sport Soccer

Thursday 18 September 2014

Shay Given attributes upturn in fortunes to lucky hamster

Published 23/01/2014 | 11:43

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Shay Given could be in line for a return to international football
Shay Given could be in line for a return to international football

Middlesbrough’s rise up the table credited to Sally the hamster.

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With six clean sheets since he arrived in November and six wins in his 10 games, Shay Given could be seen as Middlesbrough’s lucky charm.

However the Irish goalkeeper has modestly deflected the praise away from himself and said that one of the reasons why the struggling club is now a play-off contender is down to their lucky hamster Sally that appeared during a Secret Santa exchange at Christmas.

“She seems to be our lucky mascot at the moment,” Given said after their 1-0 victory over Charlton where he made a superb last-minute save.

“She came into the training ground over Christmas as a bit of a joke from one of the lads, but we’re unbeaten since, so we’re all taking looking after her very seriously now.

“She’s got a nice home in with us at the training ground, and we’re making sure we feed and water her every day. She’s got an unbeaten record so far, so we’ll make sure she stays happy and keeps working her magic.”

Roy Keane was in attendance to cast an eye over his former international colleague at the weekend, though Given’s long-term club future remains unclear.

His £60,000 a week contract at Aston Villa has two and a half years to run and should Boro fail to reach the Premier League the club would struggle to finance a permanent switch.

For now though the outlook is far more positive for the Donegal man and he believes it largely due to Sally.

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