Thank you, Shay

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As the new Aston Villa kits go on sale, one player who might not be wearing them next season is goalkeeper Shay Given. According to a report in ‘The Telegraph’, the Irishman is on the verge of a move to Championship side Middlesbrough.

I have decided to look at the positives and negatives that move would bring.

For the majority of last season, Brad Guzan was without question the first team goalkeeper. We all knew that Shay Given could do the job as well but Paul Lambert left him to play in Cup matches instead, making Given our number two goalkeeper.

Sherwood came in and saw Given in action against Leicester City in the FA Cup.

It was no real surprise that Sherwood reinstated Given as the number one, in front of Guzan, a player Sherwood had had enough of by the error-riddled Manchester City match.

It’s remarkable to think that at the age of thirty-nine the Irish goalkeeper can still play in top flight matches including the FA Cup final, in which he did concede four goals without doing much wrong. It’s funny to think that at the start of the season the Villans were in a desperate need of a striker and by the end of it needed a new goalkeeper more.

Shay Given did a great job filling in as our number one goalkeeper. He’s been there before with clubs like Blackburn Rovers, Newcastle United and Manchester City.

Now appears to be the right time for him to start new journey in his impressive career and I think every Villa fan should thank him for what he brought to this club. Since joining in 2011, he only had one season, under Alex Mcleish, in which he was the number one goalkeeper. When Lambert arrived, the Scot re-signed Guzan and Given had a seat on the bench to warm. Despite this, he still felt it was necessary to give his all when his chance came – and he didn’t disappoint. Even when Lambert had to sack his assistant manager, Given was willing to be part of the backroom staff, despite his obvious desire to play football. We should thank him for stepping in to assist our club.

The down side of Shay Given leaving Aston Villa Football Club is that we will, for now, be left with Brad Guzan and young Jed Steer as our goalkeepers. Guzan has been okay and can still do a job for us but if he were to suffer an injury I wouldn’t feel particularly confident having Steer as our back-up goalkeeper. Sherwood would need to invest, bringing in a goalkeeper who would have an impact, as Given has had.

Of course, there are benefits to this transfer too. Shay Given is one of the club’s highest earners, reported to be earning on £65,000 a week, which is a lot for a goalkeeper who spends most of his time on the bench. His departure would hopefully free up money for Sherwood to utilise. If Given is to stay, I don’t think Sherwood would prioritise getting a new goalkeeper as he must feel other areas of the squad need more attention. If Given is indeed on his way out, his departure should push a new goalkeeper up the pecking order.

I would be sad to see a great sportsman like Shay Given leaving Aston Villa. While he is no Villa legend, he is definitely an icon in the world of goalkeeping. His move might not happen but if it does then I wish him all the best and offer him my thanks.

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Originally from North Devon, I've supported Aston Villa from my earliest memories. My family have been supporting this club for generations and I'm proud to continue supporting this amazing club. Currently studying at Bath Spa University doing Film, TV and Digital Production. Follow me on twitter @JamesAPrior

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