Wednesday 21 February 2018

Euro 2012: FAI play down fears over Shay Given after knee injury

Shay Given
Shay Given
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

THE FAI are insisting that Shay Given is not a doubt for Euro 2012 despite the Ireland goalkeeper injuring his knee in training yesterday.

The 121-cap 'keeper underwent a scan on the joint and is expected to miss at least two days of training as a result of the knock.

The Aston Villa man did not complete the session and there was concern about the injury in Malahide when it happened.

But when confirming the injury, an Association spokesperson said the country's most capped player would miss sessions today and tomorrow but was not considered a doubt for the tournament, which Ireland begin on June 10 against Croatia.

The injury will certainly worry Giovanni Trapattoni, whose second-choice goalkeeper Keiren Westwood finished the season down the pecking order at Sunderland, while third-choice David Forde has only played in two friendlies.

Given is an established leader in the squad and one of only three current Ireland players to have previously played in a major tournament and would be a huge loss if the injury turned out to be more serious than first thought.

The goalkeeper has also emerged as a major transfer target for QPR, where he could link up with his old manager Mark Hughes (below).

Current first-choice QPR 'keeper Paddy Kenny is expected to leave to be reunited with former manager Neil Warnock at Leeds United this summer and Hughes has identified the Ireland man as his first-choice option.

The bond between Hughes and Given is also strong with the manager having signed the 36-year-old for Manchester City from Newcastle United in early 2009. Given was one of several City players angered by Hughes' sacking later that year.

Given signed a five-year contract at Villa last summer after joining for £3.5m, but with the club uncertain as to who will be the manager next season after a hugely disappointing campaign and with doubts over the ambitions of owner Randy Lerner, QPR are considering making an offer.

There are concerns over the scale of investment planned this summer by Lerner while QPR are pushing ahead with a transfer policy to try to establish themselves in the Premier League and are promising Hughes the funds to compete.

Ireland captain Robbie Keane flew in to join his international team-mates yesterday and spent last night with the squad at their base in Malahide. While there is no indication of when the LA Galaxy man will return to training, he has not been ruled out of Saturday's friendly against Bosnia at Lansdowne Road.

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