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Shay star role a given says boss

Shay Given

Shay Given

City's perfect start to the Barclays Premier League campaign - three matches, three victories - has had the critics saluting Mark Hughes' instant return from his summer recruitment drive.

But for all the impact that Emmanuel Adebayor, Gareth Barry & Co have had in rocketing City out of the blocks, manager Hughes is giving grateful thanks for his best buy last January.

Shay Given has yet to leak a goal this season as the Blues prepare for the big guns of Arsenal on Saturday, and Hughes believes City could have no better last line of defence.

Hughes, who prised Given from Newcastle, said: "It's impossible not to concede opportunities and chances to the opposition at Premier League level because this is the toughest league in world football.

 

You hope that either your defenders recover and stop chances, or your keeper makes outstanding saves and keeps the ball out. That's what Shay is very good at, and has been for many years

 Mark Hughes

 

"One of the key reasons I wanted to bring him to the club was because he has the ability to organise the back four, is calm with the guys in front and when he is not called upon for long periods until that split-second he's needed, then he is ready.

"That's a key quality. Portsmouth only had two shots on target in our last League game, and the key one was when he stood up to David Nugent.

"That's when he earns his keep and shows his value to the team, otherwise we would have been disappointed at not having got maximum points, given our performance there.

"That can happen in the Premier League, so when it does you want your top players to perform, and that's what Shay has done."

Given is one of the senior Republic of Ireland stars handed the night off by coach Gioavanni Trapattoni when the Republic tackle South Africa in tomorrow's friendly at Limerick.

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