SHAY GIVEN says he is relieved that the Middlesbrough fans have taken to him – despite the fact that he previously played for Boro's deadly rivals Newcastle and Sunderland.
Given, 37, has earned widespread praise since he joined Boro on loan from Aston Villa, his form in goal helping the Riverside outfit move from the fringes of the relegation zone to edge towards the play-offs.
Five clean sheets in six games has played a big part in Boro's rise but Given did have concerns about how he would be accepted there, considering that he spent a large part of his career with Newcastle.
"I'm enjoying playing football and I enjoy being here and the response from the supporters has helped that," he said.
"The fans really seem to have taken to me. They have been great. With my previous Newcastle and Sunderland connections it could have swayed either way.
"But at Boro I think these are fans who give you total support if you do it on the pitch and that's all I have ever done at every club I've been at. The fans can see that every time I play," added Given, who brushed away praise for his own clean sheets record.
"Yes, there's been a lot of clean sheets but it's not just me. We are defending as a unit. The boys are working hard to make it a lot easier for me than it could be," he added.