If U.S. international Brad Guzan falls into bad form or has to recover his position following an injury at Aston Villa this year, the challenge apparently will not come from once-venerable Shay Given.
The Daily Mail has reported that the longtime Ireland international is on his way out of Villa Park, now bound for Doncaster.
If true, it’s quite a fall for the 37-year-old goalkeeper who has more than 100 caps for Ireland. A year ago, Given (pictured right) was Aston Villa’s starter, looking over his shoulder at the emerging American but still clearly the No. 1 at Villa Park.
Now he may be the man in the goal for a club just promoted into the English Championship, the country’s second tier.
Given became a highly respected figure in English soccer during long years of service at Newcastle. He spent two seasons at Manchester City (just before the coming off the high times around the Etihad) before signing on with Aston Villa.
Given’s 2011-12 season at Villa was unusually shaky by the standards he had long established; Given was frequently considered among the top 5 at his position in the Premier League. His performances at the 2012 European Championship did nothing to quash the fears that his best years were gone. Guzan needed little time at the beginning of the 2012-13 season to pull ahead and become the trusted starter at Villa Park.
This move also reaffirms Villa’s faith in Guzan, also the current backup to Tim Howard in U.S. goal.