Sport Soccer

Saturday 16 December 2017

Given sparks injury fears

SHAY GIVEN travelled home separately from Manchester City's Europa League tie in Romania, giving Ireland cause for injury concern and also prompting speculation about his club future.

The Donegal man flew to Munich from Timisoara, where he was behind Joe Hart in the pecking order again as Roberto Mancini's side enjoyed a 1-0 victory.

Reports in the UK said that Given told fans at the airport that he was heading to Munich for further treatment on the shoulder problem that required an operation at the end of last season.

However, he was set to travel on to Manchester last night, indicating that it was a routine check-up. Certainly, Irish assistant boss Marco Tardelli was unaware of any form of recurrence when asked about Given yesterday.

He is sure the Donegal man will be available for the opening qualifier with Armenia in Yerevan on September 3.

It's likely that Given will have moved on from Manchester City by then -- on a loan deal at least -- with Celtic keen to follow up on an initial approach. Tardelli is encouraging the 34-year-old to be calm. "I'm sure he will find a good team," he said. "Or, he can find also that he can get back into the first team at Manchester City.

Mancini decides to play Hart. It's normal because he decides for the future. But I think Given is better than other goalkeepers. I don't say he is better than Hart."

With Robbie Keane's situation also unclear at Spurs -- although Tardelli feels that Jermain Defoe's injury might improve Keane's lot at White Hart Lane -- it's possible that the build-up to the Armenia match could be affected by transfer activity.

Irish Independent

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