Thursday 18 January 2018

Going? Given tells Mancini 'Play me on Saturday or I'm off'

Gone O'Neill quits as Aston Villa boss

Shay Given. Photo: Getty Images
Shay Given. Photo: Getty Images
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

SHAY GIVEN has delivered a thinly veiled ultimatum to Manchester City that unless he starts the new Premier League season as their first-choice goalkeeper, he will seek to leave before the end of this transfer window.

On the day that Martin O’Neill walked away from his post at Aston Villa, Given intimated that he could also be on the lookout for new employment.

The Donegal man is under pressure at Eastlands after the return of Joe Hart from a successful loan spell at Birmingham, and admits he is in the dark about who will wear the gloves for Saturday’s opener against Spurs.

However, the 34-year-old made it clear that he will seek a meeting with Roberto Mancini and club officials if Hart gets the nod. He also hinted that he believes Hart’s nationality is working in the youngster’s favour, given England’s need for a top-class goalkeeper. “I don’t want to say too much on that, but you have a strong point there,” he said, in response to that observation.

Given has been linked with a move to Arsenal and says they are a fantastic club, but denied that he is Emirates Stadium-bound. Instead, he insists his situation revolves around what happens at the weekend.

“I haven’t joined Manchester City to sit on the bench,” he said. “I’ve gone there to play. It’s an ambitious club and I’m an ambitious person. I haven’t gone there to take it easy and put my feet up. “I’m desperate to play on Saturday. If that’s not the case then I’ll have to speak to the club next week and decide what the next step is.

“We’re both capable of playing in the Premier League and we’ve proved that. It’s a specialist position and you can only play the one player so it’s not ideal for either of us, whoever doesn’t play I suppose.

“Joe did well last year and deserves great credit for that but I’d like to think I did okay myself at Manchester City. “If I wasn’t to play then possibly (Given would look for) a loan thing or something just to get games really, to get playing because that’s why you play football. You just want to play in every game.”

Meanwhile, O’Neill’s departure from Villa Park has rocked their preparations ahead of the new season. The Derry native quit after his fragile relationship with the club’s hierarchy collapsed following a weekend discussion about the lack of transfer funds available to him.

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