Monday 19 February 2018

Trapattoni makes Given wait

Ireland boss yet to meet retired goalkeeper about possible return to 2014 qualifying campaign

Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

SHAY GIVEN has yet to speak with Giovanni Trapattoni about making a final decision on whether he will return to international football for the remainder of Ireland's World Cup qualifying campaign, with issues to resolve on both sides.

The Donegal man indicated last weekend that he would be open to coming back, just six months after he retired to concentrate on his club career with Aston Villa.

After losing his place to Brad Guzan, Given has spent the season sitting on the substitutes' bench.

Trapattoni initially gave a positive reaction to the news but wants to hold a proper discussion with Ireland's most capped player to find out the reasoning behind his intentions before deciding if he will be called back into the squad.

He is understood to be conscious of the impact it could have on the current No 1 Keiren Westwood, although the Italian is rarely sentimental when it comes to personnel matters.

The outcome of the January transfer window is a factor, with Paul Lambert currently blocking loan moves for the 36-year-old.

Hull and Nottingham Forest are both keen on his services.

Considering his struggles last summer when he was below par, Trapattoni will have to be certain that Given is the sharpest option before restoring him as his No 1.

With Villa keen to reduce their wage bill, there is a feeling in the player's camp that his employers would prefer a full-time departure but that is complicated by the three and a half years remaining on his contract.

Westwood is stuck in the background at Sunderland and, like Given, is reliant on cup action to secure game-time. Both could feature for their clubs in the FA Cup today, although Lambert is deliberating whether to play Guzan or Given at home to Ipswich.

"Shay has been brilliant in the cup and Brad has been fantastic in the league," said Lambert. "It is something I'll look at."

Coventry netminder Joe Murphy, who was third-choice behind Given and Westwood before a falling-out with Trap, says it could be awkward at first if the veteran comes back but insists that his stature should override any problems.

"It's always tough to come back – like coming back to a club you were at before – but Shay has a great attitude and if a top-quality goalkeeper is available, I don't think there are too many people going to complain," said Murphy.

Meanwhile, Robbie Keane (pictured) has signed a new two-year contract with LA Galaxy and ruled out another loan stint in England due to the effects of a draining 2012.

The Ireland skipper has been linked with QPR, Aston Villa and Norwich but has suggested that his focus is on getting fit for the start of a new MLS campaign.

"I've another year left and they offered me a new contract, so I signed it two days ago," said Keane.

Irish Independent

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