Saturday 18 November 2017

Riise urges 'fantastic' Irish stopper to join Roma

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

JOHN Arne Riise would welcome the prospect of Shay Given joining him at Roma should the Ireland goalkeeper move in January.

Having played second fiddle to Joe Hart at Manchester City, the Donegal man has been linked with a transfer to Italy and Riise's Roma are believed to have made enquiries about the stopper in September.

Riise left Liverpool for a move to Italy in 2008, and the Norway left-back can vouch for the tough elements of changing countries -- but he reckons it is worth it in the end. And in the event that Given does join him at the Stadio Olimpico, Riise has offered to help the Irishman settle in the Italian capital.

"I read about Shay Given maybe coming to Roma. I have heard some rumours," Riise said at Norway's Dublin base yesterday. "Given is a fantastic goalkeeper. For him to be on the bench must be quite frustrating because he's more than good enough for a lot of teams.

"I think it would be good for him to get a move and first-team football and, if he comes to Italy, he would be more than welcome.

"It is a shame that he's not playing because to be a sub at his standard is quite abnormal. If he wants to come to Italy and Roma want him, he would be more than welcome. I will take care of him."

Norway come into tonight's Aviva Stadium clash in good form, sitting on top of a Euro 2012 qualifying group which includes Portugal and Denmark, who they face in March.

Their clash with Ireland and another February friendly against as yet unnamed opposition will prepare them for that important match, so they are taking tonight seriously, despite the loss of strikers John Carew and Mohammed Abdellaoue from their squad.

Riise was a little taken aback when he heard the extent of Ireland's injury woes -- with 10 members of Giovanni Trapattoni's squad back in the UK nursing strains.

"That's quite a lot," he said. "But I expect a tough game. They are a good team, they have a good coach and the Irish game is quite passionate and aggressive, so it's going to be a good test for us."

Norway coach Egil Olsen confirmed he has no fresh injury worries after training at Lansdowne Road yesterday and -- having watched tapes of Ireland's defeat to Russia and draw in Slovakia -- has some interesting views on how Trapattoni's side approaches the game of football.

Those who have complained about Ireland's tactics may be a little surprised by the 68-year-old's views on the style of play.

And the man who was in charge during Ireland's scoreless draw with the Norwegians at USA '94 says he believes the current crop are superior to the likes of Roy Keane, Andy Townsend and Paul McGrath.

"I have seen Ireland in the last matches and they have a more old-fashioned play, with the long ball up in the air," he said.

"And other times they look like they try to play like Barcelona. I'm not quite sure if that's very smart, but I feel that they have both of these elements in the team. We have not! We don't play like Barcelona.

"They are much better now than in '94. The football now is much better. The players are much better individually. They have better skill."

Irish Independent

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