Given sympathy for Harper
Irish star feels for fellow keeper
By Graeme Bailey. Last Updated: October 1, 2007 5:41pm
Given: Sorry for Harper
Shay Given admits he feels for team-mate Steve Harper, after he recaptured the No.1 jersey at Newcastle.
Before the weekend's loss at Manchester City, Harper had started every Premier League game this term but Sam Alladryce opted to recall Given at Eastlands.
The Irish international admits it was a tough decision for Harper to take.
"I had a word with Steve - he was frustrated. It is difficult for both of us when we are not playing," said Given.
"We both get as frustrated as each other. We both want to play and the manager's decision could have gone either way. Steve could have played just as easily.
"We are both itching to play and it's the manager's decision. Luckily for me, he picked me.
"The problem with goalkeepers is that only one of us can play. We work together every day and try to help each other as much as we can.
"I am sure, come Monday morning, it will be the same."
Allardyce revealed that Given's display in the Carling Cup defeat to Arsenal earned him his place in the side to face City.
"It was a really difficult decision. I just thought, on the Arsenal performance, it was the right thing to put him in. That was my gut feeling," said Allardyce.
"If ever there was a player who did not deserve to be dropped, it was Stevie Harper.
"But you have got to go with your gut feeling, and the gut feeling was to go with Shay based on the outstanding performance I thought he put in against Arsenal."