Rather bizarrely the Irish Sun published an article using the byline of Shay Given on the May 26th 2013, under the Headline of ‘I’m looking for a new club, not a pay-off’. On face value, it looks like Given has sat down at his computer and knocked out the words himself. Maybe he’s preparing himself for a new career after football?!
The reality is the press will often composite an interview together just using quotes of their interviewee to form an article under the interviewee’s name. It’s presumed that Given would have green-lighted the final copy, although it is The Sun, so you never know.
Below is the opening section that deals exclusively with his situation with Villa, before he goes on to talk about his career with the Irish national team.
Given was the victim of Paul Lambert’s decision to promote Guzan as his number one (the reasons are discussed here). The Irish keeper seemed to have lost confidence since his topsy-turvy Euro 2012 campaign with the national team. He certainly didn’t seem his old self in periods of the League Cup quarter-final against Norwich at Carrow road, when he hesitated several times and remained rooted on his goal line instead of claiming balls that were his. Considering Bradford City’s potential threat at set pieces (especially corners) in the semi-final, Given’s inclusion in that two-leg affair was questionable in hindsight.
However, as Villa fans have claimed Darren Bent saved us from relegation under Houllier, the same credit can be afforded to Given for McLeish’s season in charge. Skeptics of Given’s five-year contract on pretty decent money, despite his age, look like they’ve been proved right though with Given’s exit talk. Still, we wish him well, as he always conducted himself in a first class manner.
Here’s the excerpt on his current feelings at Villa:
I’m looking for a new club, not a pay-off
By Shay Given
I WON’T be playing for Aston Villa next season.
Last Tuesday I had a meeting with manager Paul Lambert and we both agreed that I should be playing first-team football.
And that’s not happening at Villa right now.
I’m not sure what the exact outcome will be, but I’ll be looking to join another club next season, whether that’s on loan or as a transfer.
There was a newspaper story during the week that I was looking for a pay-off to end my contract with Aston Villa and leave the club, but there’s no truth to that whatsoever.
I didn’t even discuss money when I spoke to the manager on Tuesday. The only thing I’m thinking about at the moment is having the opportunity to play first-team football.
Ideally I’d like for that to be with another Premier League club, but nothing is guaranteed I suppose. I just want to be able to prove to people that I’m still a good goalkeeper.
It’s a relief to think about moving to a club where I can play first-team football, because I found it hugely frustrating sitting on the bench for most of the past season.
When you’re training all week but then not playing at the weekend, it’s a hugely unfulfilling experience.
It’s hard to stay going when you know it’s unlikely you’ll be selected, but at the same time you have to stay focused and be ready to step in just in case there’s an injury.
Playing the occasional cup match wasn’t easy either because, as a goalkeeper, you need to be playing regularly to be at your very sharpest.
Until this season I’ve almost always been a first-choice keeper and I’m still very hungry to play. That’s why I know I need to make this move.
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