Thursday 23 November 2017

Given declares himself fit

Ireland goalkeeper Shay Given has declared himself fit to face Croatia next Sunday as he prepares for his first meaningful action in three weeks in Budapest this evening, writes David Kelly.

Having been relieved to discover that his knee injury was not serious, the 36-year-old Donegal man was forced to sit out training on Saturday -- with a pair of blistered toes.

"It's fine," he says of his latest injury scare. "It's nice to be out training again.

"On Saturday, I just had a problem with my big toes. I had blisters on my big toes. I just felt it was better to leave it on Saturday, train yesterday and I feel fine for tonight's game.

"As for the knee, you don't know until it clears up. There was fluid on my knee or swelling or whatever and until that goes away you'll obviously have doubts, I suppose.

"But the knee's totally fine now, there's no fluid and it's totally back to normal and that's a big relief. Of course there are doubts if it's hurting or if there's swelling, that's just normal."

Informed that he was in the team not only for tonight's final warm-up game, but also the Group C opener against Croatia in Poznan, Given allowed himself a disarming wry grin.

"It's news to me!" he laughed. "That's good then, if I'm in! A lot can happen in a week of football. We'll just take this game first and I said to you guys last week that the team for this one would be the team that starts against Croatia.

"Obviously I'm just looking forward to getting out there playing again. It's been a couple of weeks since the end of the Premier League for me personally, as I didn't play in Dublin or Italy either.

"It will be nice to get a game under my belt before Sunday, of course it will."

Still, cognisant of the latest disruption to the English team that coursed the players' Twitter feeds before last night's training session, Given issued a meaningful dollop of caution.

"It's confidence that the team is being named so early," he says. "But it's giving the team belief as well, so there's no real doubt amongst the team. A lot of you guys would have guessed the team as well.

"But, as I say, you can't look to next Sunday. You have to look to tonight's game first. As we've seen in the last few weeks, and even today with England, anything can happen in training or in friendlies.

"You have to take each day as it comes. Touch wood, it's been okay in terms of injuries not affecting our build-up. But It takes just one tackle in training or a game to knock you out. Touch wood, we can stay clear of that."

• Croatia striker Ivica Olic is a major doubt for Euro 2012 after suffering a thigh injury during his country's friendly with Norway on Saturday. The Bayern Munich player -- who will join Wolfsburg after the tournament -- will have a scan today.

Irish Independent

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