Given back in action

Goalkeeper returns to full training to boost Ireland

Shay Given: Ireland goalkeeper back in training

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Shay Given took a full part in Ireland's training session on Friday, proving his fitness ahead of their opening Euro 2012 game against Croatia.

There had been doubts over the goalkeeper's fitness ever since the squad joined up in Malahide as he has been plagued by knee and calf problems.

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But he took a full part in training at the Municipal Stadium in Gdynia, including playing in a practice game to end the session.

The full squad were able to take part in their final run out before flying to Poznan for the start of their campaign, vindicating the decision to give the squad a day off on Wednesday to recuperate.

Persuaded

Giovanni Trapattoni is well known for his detailed preparation, but he was persuaded to alter his plans after the players complained of tiredness.

Midfielder Keith Andrews said: "We have an itinerary and it was pencilled in as a day's training, but the lads spoke to the manager and came to the conclusion that a day off would be best for all concerned

"The lads spoke to the manager and came to the conclusion that a day off would be best for all concerned "

Keith Andrews

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"I think it was needed," he continued. "We've been training a lot, with two games in there, so it really lifted the lads.

"It was nice to literally do nothing, have a walk around the town and sample the atmosphere."

Tension

And he denied that there was any tension between the squad and their Italian manager.

"I think it's good management and showed flexibility by changing plans," Andrews continued.

"The vast majority of us are used to the English system where we train for two or three days and have a day off.

"Italian football is a lot less intense, but when we train, we can't seem to take it easy.

"Once we have a goal and a couple of 'keepers, it becomes competitive. That's just our nature.

"I think it was a clever call to have a rest day, to be honest."