Shay Given is looking forward to renewing his international partnership with Richard Dunne at club level.
The keeper, signed from Newcastle United on Sunday, has lined up with the Blues’ skipper on many occasions for the Republic of Ireland and he is fulsome in his praise of his new City team mate.
“Dunnie is one of the best centre-halves I have ever played behind,” Shay declares, “and it will be a bit strange to play with him at club level having only done so for Ireland before. He’s a fantastic player.
“He’s dropped me the odd text over the last few days, and it was good to hook up with him. We go back over a few years with the Irish squad and we know each other well.”
The relationship between keeper and central defender is a key one, as Shay continues, “I’ll need to get to know the rest of the lads here and work with them as well, but the centre half & goalkeeper is quite an important partnership. Richard and I have played together a lot for Ireland, and hopefully we’ll improve on that as well.”
The Irish connection does not stop there, of course, and Shay has joined the chorus of voices praising Stephen Ireland.
He adds: “Stephen has been at the top of his game. He is a fantastic talent. What with Stephen, Richard and myself being here then (Republic boss) Mr Trappatoni may be coming to our stadium a bit more often!”
At 32, Shay is convinced his best years lay before him, and he looks to the example set by a predecessor of his at City, David James, as to how long he wants to be performing in top gear.
“David is still flying at 38 or 39, he and Brad Friedel probably had the best seasons of their career last year. That gives me encouragement because I feel I am relatively young for a goalkeeper, although I have been around for quite a while.
“I do feel that the best years are still ahead of me, there’s always room for improvement and that’s what I am aiming for.”