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Shay dream can still come true, says boss

Shay Given in Paris

Shay Given in Paris

Mark Hughes has assured heartbroken City goalkeeper Shay Given that his World Cup dream is not over.

Shay Given led the midweek protests after Thierry Henry's "Hand of Gaul" play-off cheating robbed the Republic of Ireland of a deserved place in the South Africa finals next summer.

But Blues boss Hughes, who knew bitter disappointment himself as player and manager with Wales, expects Shay to bounce back with a command performance at Liverpool tomorrow.

And the manager declared that his 33-year-old goalkeeper still has time on his side when the Republic make their next challenge to reach the next World Cup finals in Brazil in 2014.

Hughes said: "I've spoken to Shay and it's all a little bit raw for him at the moment. The decision's been made and he's lost the opportunity of this World Cup, which is a shame.

"It's not over for him. He's got to stay clear of injury but I can see him being the Irish goalkeeper for many years after this World Cup. He's a fit guy who works exceptionally hard.

"If he continues to keep up his current levels, there's no reason why he can't be around for the next two World Cups.

"The thing for him now is to concentrate on his club football. You pick yourself up very quickly, and Liverpool at Anfield is the ideal game for him to focus his mind.

You put that bitter disappointment behind you by playing exceptionally well at club level, and Shay will do that because he's a top professional.

...Mark Hughes...

 

The former Wales hero added: "It's not easy as a player or manager to miss out in the last match. Sometimes you feel aggreived, sometimes you just weren't quite good enough.

"I had it when we lost to Russia but one of their players failed a drugs test. We took it a long way but the longer it went on, the more we realised we wouldn't get the verdict."

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