Shay Given

Shay Given
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Shay Given

Current Club: Free Agent.

Previous Clubs: Stoke City, Aston Villa, Manchester City, Newcastle United, Blackburn Rovers, Celtic.

Loan Clubs: Middlesbrough, Sunderland, Swindon Town.

International: Republic of Ireland 134 caps.

Given is one of the best shot stoppers of the modern era, with excellent agility and reflexes, as well as good positioning, though that really should say was one of the best. Injuries and age have caught up with him in recent years and his agility is now average, at best, his reflexes slow and his positioning is unable to address that lack of agility and speed.

His distribution has never been a strong point, though it is not a weakness as such either. It is just not a strength. Given's throws are more accurate than his kicking, but neither are accurate over the longer range needed to be able to launch attacks from deep.

Organisation has always been Given's achilles heel, his major weakness that has cost his team's goals. In his Newcastle days his struggles with organisation were a major factor in their tendency to leak goals. Deadball situations would see players unmarked, defenders unsure of their jobs and Given unhelpful and often distracted. That is something that he has never been able to learn, even with his many years of experience. His spell covering for injuries at Stoke last season showed that nothing had changed, leading to the arrival of another keeper as soon as they could find one.

It is a testament to just how good his shotstopping was that he has managed to achieve so much in his career, despite his shortcomings in organising a defence. Perhaps if he was starting his career now the organisation would not be such an issue, with coaches having a much bigger input into defensive set ups.