Given backed by City 'family'

Blues rally around Irish keeper

Given: World Cup heartache

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Shay Given has been helped through a difficult week by the support of his Manchester City team-mates.

The Republic of Ireland international suffered World Cup heartache in Paris last Wednesday when France prevailed in a controversial play-off contest.

Thierry Henry's handball in the lead up to William Gallas' crucial extra-time strike has dominated headlines around the world in the aftermath of the game.

Sympathy has poured out for the deflated Irish troops, who saw their dreams of gracing football's grandest stage cruelly snatched away.

For those involved the scars still run deep, but a return to domestic action has helped to ease the burden.

Team-mates have been quick to offer a consoling arm, with City striker Emmanuel Adebayor revealing that Mark Hughes' troops have rallied around their disgruntled keeper.

United front

"It's been a very difficult week for him (Given) but he knows how many mates he's got in the dressing room," said the Togolese frontman.

"We are all friends and we're all going to fight for each other.

"I saw Shay in the dressing room on Thursday and I hugged him. Then I saw Craig Bellamy do the same as well, followed by a few of the others.

"We were all telling him how much we thought of him. We knew it would be hard for him mentally after what had gone on.

"But we are a family here at City, we are all together, we're all mates and we will fight together."