Given - Cuellar is the man

Irishman believes defender has the quality to cover sidelined Dunne

Carlos Cuellar: Set to return to the heart of the Aston Villa defence

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Aston Villa goalkeeper Shay Given is adamant that Carlos Cuellar has the necessary credentials to cover for injured defender Richard Dunne.

Dunne underwent surgery on a fractured collarbone on Monday which confirmed he would be on the sidelines until April.

The centre-back landed awkwardly during Villa's 1-0 loss against Manchester City at Villa Park on Sunday.

And with Ciaran Clark also set for a prolonged stay on the sidelines manager Alex McLeish is set to hand defensive leadership to Cuellar, who Given believes is the right man for the heart of the side's defence.

Rock

"It is a big loss because he has been the mainstay of our defence all season - Richard hasn't missed a game," he told the Express & Star.

"Dunne is a leader and he has been the rock at the heart of the team. He will be a big loss and we will miss him but there is nothing we can do so, for me, it is all about looking at the other side of the coin and who can come in and help us get the results that we need.

"Carlos is a quality player. He got man of the match for his performance at left-back against Manchester City, and rightly so.

"He played a very good game out of position. It is important that we have got versatile players who can play across the back four."