Close to the end for Shay Given?

Shay Given has been one of the best goalkeepers in Premier League history but now it seems that he is acknowledging the fact that he is about to be overtaken by younger players. In recent interviews he has been showering Tim Krul and Joe Hart with praise which could suggest that he knows his time may be coming to an end or is he just pleased that his former clubs are succeeding especially in the position he played.

He is still a fans favourite at Newcastle and was given a warm reception by the fans when his current club Aston Villa played there recently. But maybe now with Tim Krul emerging as one of the best performers this season the Toon fans will have a new goalkeeping idol. Krul has played a big part in Newcastle’s season pulling off some fantastic saves at vital times, keeping his side in the lead or at least in the game. Rightly so he is getting praised by Given but I think Villa fans should be getting worried as he has started talking to the media more and working with the media and could therefore be looking to end his career soon which I believe would be premature as he is still an outstanding goalkeeper and has a lot to offer the Premier League. Yes, Krul may have had a better season than him so far but that’s not to say he is having a bad season and is still as consistent as ever.

With the European Championships coming up soon, Given will be hopeful for a successful tournament as this may well be his last opportunity to play at a major international tournament. He was number 1 for Ireland at the 2002 World Cup where they performed admirably and were unlucky to get knocked out. He has also captained the side on many occasions and this is a reason why he has been talking about Joe Hart being the England captain for the tournament. The Manchester City goalkeeper would obviously love to play as many games for England as Given has for Ireland and if he does, he should definitely be considered for the role but in my opinion it is too early in his career.

I really like Shay Given and I hope he is going to continue his career for another few years at least and follow the example of Brad Friedel and hopefully play until he is 40. He comes across very well and one day should be a very good goalkeeping coach if he chooses to take that route after he retires but he may be more interested in a career in the media as his recent interviews have suggested. If you ever need a goalkeeper analysed surely there is nobody better than the most consistent player in the Premier League, he never makes a mistake and was at the time harshly frozen by Roberto Mancini at Manchester City but as this season has proven maybe Shay Given is starting to slip down the league table of goalkeepers. However, Aston Villa can count themselves very lucky that he is their player.

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Is Stuart Pearce the right man for England?

Stuart Pearce has been put in temporary charge of England but could he possibly be the man to lead the nation fulltime? He has been working in international football for a number of years now, albeit with the under 21s but this experience could be invaluable as everybody knows being an international manager is very different to being a club manager. Dealing with players is a big part of being a club manager but on the international stage you see them for two weeks then they disappear for a couple of months. Therefore you don’t get to see the players day in and day out, so that is why I believe some managers do not take to international management as well as others. Using Capello as an example, he has a phenomenal record as a club manager possibly because of his reputation as a disciplinarian but he couldn’t exactly stamp his authority on players because after they left they could go back to doing whatever they wanted.

So back to Pearce, who actually had his first role in management back in 1996 when he was caretaker at Nottingham Forest but that was only until the end of the season and there was nothing he could have done to have saved them from relegation although he did win manager of the month while he was in charge. This was very early in his career and this was shown by the fact that when he left Forest, he carried on his playing career with Newcastle United, West Ham United and Manchester City.

He got his next chance in club management at City and it started brightly with them almost qualifying for the Europa League but a missed penalty in the last minute cost them a place. Pearce was prepared to make a few bold decisions which included taking off an outfield player for a goalkeeper so David James could play upfront which was very strange to see but at least it shows that he doesn’t mind taking a risk when he needs to. At City it was the first time he was linked with the England job but was obviously not chosen because he lacked experience. City began to struggle and were involved in relegation battles which eventually led to Pearce being sacked in 2007.

Pearce was handed the under 21 job on a permanent basis and they have performed admirably reaching the semi final in 2007 losing out in an epic penalty shootout against Holland and getting to the final in 2009 but being destroyed by Germany 4-0. However, this German side was brilliant and many of the players actually played in the World Cup against the first team in South Africa and we all know how that ended. However in 2011, the team failed to even get out of their group, although they did secure a very good draw against eventual winners Spain.

So should the man once known as Psycho be the next permanent manager of England? Of course he has the passion and the determination to succeed but sometimes you need more than that and his record so far does not suggest he will win a major tournament. However, if he was to be appointed, England would be copying Germany, with them hiring Joachim Low the former assistant to Jurgen Klinsmann and this has worked out very well for them. So who knows maybe he will bring back the passion and desire to succeed for the national team because at times it has looked like the players are not motivated to play for their country so at least under Pearce there would be no fear of that.