Shay Given

NameShay Given
BirthdayApril 20, 1976


Shay Given

Given made his name at Newcastle United after almost 12 years at the club but, having become disillusioned with the direction the club was taking, he joined Manchester City, only to move on again in search of first-team football to Aston Villa.

He began his professional career north of the border with Celtic but, unable to break into the first team, moved to Blackburn Rovers on a free transfer in 1994. With Tim Flowers firmly entrenched as the number one, Given had to go out on loan to make his Football League bow with Swindon Town. He also had a loan spell with Newcastle’s arch rivals, Sunderland.

Ironically, Given’s only winners’ medal came during the spell with Sunderland as they won Division One, but the stopper joined the Magpies in the summer of 1997 for £1.5 million. In his time on Tyneside, Given carved out a reputation as one of the finest goalkeepers in the Premier League who rarely made a mistake and could always be relied upon.

Given travelled to the 2002 World Cup finals with Republic of Ireland and continued his fine form as Mick McCarthy’s side reached the second round before going out on penalties to Spain. From then on, Given was Newcastle’s undisputed No. 1 goalkeeper, turning in top performances for both club and country.

His 2006-07 and 2007-08 seasons were both hit by injury, and Given then sought a move away in the middle of the 2008-09 campaign in which Newcastle were eventually relegated. Ultimately, it was City who eventually captured his signature before the January window closed for an undisclosed fee.

His move to City allowed him to compete for silverware but the arrival of Joe Hart relegated him to a bit-part role after one and a half seasons and he opted to move to Villa in July 2011.

Strengths: A superb shot-stopper with lightning reflexes.

Weaknesses: His defensive organisation at both Newcastle and City has come under scrutiny, while he is not at his best when dealing with crosses.

Career High: Given has only won the First Division title (with Sunderland) and the Intertoto Cup (with Newcastle), so the former perhaps ranks as his greatest moment to date.

Career Low: Given requested a move away from Newcastle after a 5-1 defeat at home to Liverpool in December 2008. In a statement released by his lawyer to explain the decision, the match was described as the “lowest point of his football career”.

Style: A highly-rated ‘keeper with a knack for producing jaw-dropping saves.

Quotes: “I speak to two or three big managers who are my friends and they ask if I think Given can play in Italy with them. With his personality and quality, I feel he is as good as Gianluigi Buffon.” Republic of Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni, November 2008.

Trivia: In May 2010, Shay Given made his 103rd international appearance, making him Republic of Ireland’s joint most-capped player alongside Kevin Kilbane; a record he went on to break.