Saturday, October 17, 2009

Hughes hails Given's presence

Speaking about the key presence that Given has become since his signing from Newcastle last January:

"Shay's been more than I could have hoped for in terms of his presence on the field.

"He's got a calming influence on the back four. That's made a marked difference to the way the guys in front of him have been able to defend.

"It comes from knowledge of the game. It comes from knowing when you need to take the sting out of games and when you need to build momentum.

"That starts from Shay and he has a great understanding, because of the Premier League experience that he has."
Given's performance has far exceeded that I expected since his arrival, and I don't think there can be any debate as to the value of his signing and that he brings more to the side than Joe Hart did.

That said, I have seen a little bit of criticism of Given in recent weeks, particularly related to his lack of size and ability to command the area. Perhaps this is as a result of us conceding from set plays but for me this is being very overly critical and the few problems we have had at the back not stemmed in any way from the goalkeeper.


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