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.

Newcastle’s surprise player of the season

Danny Guthrie is the most underrated player in the Premier League as he keeps completely controlling games with his great range of passing. He likes to play the game simply most of the time, just playing the way he is facing, so if he is facing towards his own goal he will just drop it off to the centre back and make another move to pick up the ball. On the other hand though, he sometimes delivers perfect 50 to 60 yard cross field passes which if they were done by Steven Gerrard or Frank Lampard would be praised no end by commentators and pundits alike.

He just gets about his job effectively and another thing I like about him is that he is clearly a very quiet man which is very rare especially for a football player. He just lets his football do the talking and yet again against Aston Villa he played fantastically and was a candidate for man of the match. Every time he put the ball in the box it caused confusion in the Villa defence and led to many chances, the best of them falling to Papiss Demba Cisse who should have scored with a header on his debut. In fairness to the striker, he did score a wonder goal which won the game so he shouldn’t be criticised too much.

The former Liverpool youngster has been very impressive this season even though he can’t have expected much playing time with Yohan Cabaye and Cheick Tiote in such great form at the start of the season. But everyone knows it is a long season and the whole squad is needed so when he came in to cover for injuries, the Toon fans must not have been expecting too much. He proved them wrong and possibly even Alan Pardew, as he had not been offered a contract extension even though his was up at the end of the season. He proved in the games especially against Stoke, Everton and Qpr that he is more than just an average squad player.

Yes at times he does seem to lack fitness and he does make rash challenges but when he has the ball his pass completion must be up there with some of the best in the country, yet he will never be mentioned as a possible England player. Although this could be because Fabio Capello does not come to watch any Newcastle games and therefore he will never get looked at.

To fully appreciate the way Guthrie plays football, you have to watch a full 90 minutes because he will not exactly stand out in the highlights because he won’t get many goals and he does a lot of the boring stuff leaving the more adventurous and skilful side of the game to other players. But he is vital at the minute to Newcastle and on current form I cannot see both Cabaye and Tiote starting ahead of him but yet again those two have been linked to moves away to Chelsea and Manchester United.

Well done to the player himself because he has never really complained about being on the bench and is now repaying the manager and the fans with his performances. He is most certainly having a better season than a certain Joey Barton.