Given ready for action
New keeper is looking forward to the buzz of matchday again
Last Updated: July 19, 2011 9:47pm
Given: Confident he'll show he warrants a five-year deal at Villa
Shay Given has assured Aston Villa fans his self-belief has not been dented by a season on the sidelines at Manchester City.
The 35-year-old has completed his move to the midlands, with Villa having paid a fee of around £3.5million to secure his services.
Given is set to succeed Brad Friedel as Villa's first-choice keeper and the promise of regular first-team football was a big factor in the move.
The Republic of Ireland international had fallen behind Joe Hart in the Blues' pecking order last term.
But while Given made just four appearances for City during the 2010/11 season, he represented his country 10 times during the same period, helping them win the inaugural Carling Nations Cup and taking his overall tally to 113 caps.
"I think my confidence is OK because the Ireland games kept me going," he said.
"You do get a little bit rusty because you're not playing so many games, but I'm excited to be getting back and getting match-sharp again.
"My two young kids kept me busy. It's about not losing the confidence in your own ability."
Given signed for City from Newcastle in January 2009 and immediately became first choice but Hart has been preferred by Roberto Mancini since returning from his loan spell at Birmingham during the 2009/10 season.
While Given was clearly delighted to be part of the City squad that won this year's FA Cup, picking up his first major winners' medal as an unused substitute, he still hankered for regular action.
"The biggest thing missing was the buzz of matchday and playing, so I'm just really excited about getting going again," he said.
"It was frustrating, knowing you're training with no chance of playing, but the manager made a decision and you've got to respect that."
And although Given has signed until 2016, he is confident he can emulate his predecessor in the Villa goal by playing at the highest level into his 40's.
"I'm not frightened by the five years," said Given. "I'm quite looking forward to a great spell at Aston Villa.
"You look at Brad Friedel, who's 40 and just signed a two-year contract at Tottenham, and Edwin van der Sar, who was 40 last season and probably had one of the best seasons of his career, so in terms of age, I want to play football as long as I can."