Sunday 17 December 2017

Given dismisses knee injury concerns and insists he's ready for fray

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Less than 100 yards away his manager was casting major doubt over his participation at Euro 2012, but Shay Given was far more positive in his prognosis on the knee injury that kept him out of Saturday's send-off.

While stand-in goalkeeper Keiren Westwood had little to do against Bosnia, Ireland fans and management alike are praying that the country's most capped player recovers in time for the Croatia clash on June 10.

The Aston Villa man suffered the strain during training a week ago and, despite early insistence that the injury would keep him out of action for only a few days, it quickly became clear that it was more serious than that.

Given had a scan and travelled to London to see a specialist, but he insists that he will return to training this week and will be fine by the time the tournament kicks off in less than two weeks' time.

"The specialist was happy with the way things went on Thursday," he explained.

"I'll probably train in the middle of the week. It's just a knee problem.

"I hurt my knee in training on Monday and had a bit of a reaction. That was all. The scan was fine, so there's just a bit of swelling and stuff.

"There is no major problem with the ligaments or anything."

Given hopes to return to training on Wednesday and could return to action next Monday against Hungary in Budapest.

The Donegal man claimed that if it had been a competitive match against Bosnia on Saturday, he could have played through the pain barrier.

"Obviously I'd love to be training every day and have been playing because I don't like missing any games, but sometimes you have to listen to your body," he said.

"If the Euros had started on Saturday I think I could have played, so I'm not worried.

"I hadn't trained, but I would have played. The specialist and the doctor felt it was just better to rest it for a few more days and then I'll be 100pc."

Meanwhile, Aiden McGeady reflected on the 45 minutes that saw him set up Shane Long's winning goal and earn him the Man of the Match award.

Having been criticised so often for the quality of his final ball, the Spartak Moscow man was pleased with his contribution, although he revealed that the week's training in advance of Saturday's win had led to some boredom within the camp.

"I had a strong finish to the season with Spartak and had been training all week. The manager seems happy enough," McGeady said. "He said before the game that he wanted to keep me fresh for the games ahead, so that's why myself and Duffer (Damien Duff) only got a half each.

"To be honest, we could have probably done without the first week's training.

"We've just been moping around the hotel the last few days and you get a bit bored for long periods of time, so it was good just to get a game and we've got Italy now.

"It is good to get a change of scenery. If we were in Dublin for three weeks I think you'd have guys sneaking out of the hotel left, right and centre."

Meanwhile, Bosnia goalkeeper Asmir Begovic backed Ireland to make an impact in Poland next month.

"Croatia are a world class team, but Ireland can beat them as they have a strong side," the Stoke stopper said.

"I think Ireland can get out of the group, even though it is a tough section. They are very determined and they play with great spirit. That will be important in the finals."

Irish Independent

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