| 26.5°C Dublin

Given praise for Roy's impact at Villa

SHAY GIVEN has hailed the impact made at Aston Villa already by the club's new assistant manager Roy Keane.

Given and Keane were team-mates at international level for almost a decade, though the relationship was not always smooth, but the pair are working well at Villa Park, Given says.

"It's great to have him here; he's a real leader, a character and a great assistant for the manager," said Given. "He's a manager himself in his own right - with the two of them at the helm it's great for the club. He always gets talked about for his dark side and shouting at people but he's been very helpful for all the players. He's been out there coaching as well and giving players lots of advice.

"When an ex-player like Roy Keane gives you advice you take it on board because he was a fantastic player especially for the younger players - he's a real help for them."

Given knows he faces an uncertain future at the club, however. The 38-year-old still has two years left on his contract but he was surplus to requirements last season, reduced to third-choice keeper for long periods and his only access to first-team football came during a loan spell with Championship side Middlesbrough. Given said earlier this summer that he hoped to secure a loan move away but so far that has not happened, clubs frightened off by the burden of Given's wages.

Villa manager Paul Lambert, meanwhile, is planning on holding talks with captain Ron Vlaar in a bid to resolve the defender's future.

With one year remaining on the Dutchman's contract, and following his stand-out performances for Holland in the World Cup, Vlaar, 29, has since been linked with a number of clubs, notably Serie A pair Juventus and Lazio.