Given likely to be out for three months


SOCCER NEWS:EVEN BEFORE word had filtered back to him from yesterday’s visit by the player to a specialist in London, Roberto Mancini confirmed that the prognosis for Shay Given is not good with the shoulder injury he sustained last week expected to require surgery and the Irishman likely to be sidelined for around three months.

Speaking after scans on Given’s shoulder had revealed that the 34-year-old has dislocated his left shoulder again, the Manchester City manager expressed sympathy for a player who has featured just four times for his club over the course of the current campaign.

Given now faces the prospect of missing out on two of the Republic of Ireland’s most important European Championship qualifiers while undergoing another painful recuperation.

“It’s the same injury he had last year. I think he needs an operation,” said Mancini yesterday. “I think he needs three months to recover properly.

“I am disappointed for him because we have lost a good goalkeeper,” continued the Italian.

“Last year we had the problem in the last three games because we lost him to injury and I hope this year it is not the same.”

If Given is told that he needs to have surgery again, the three-month timeline could prove to be optimistic while there will be some concern that the Irishman may never regain quite the same range of movement or strength that he had in the shoulder prior to sustaining the injury.

And having already acknowledged that he will be without his first choice goalkeeper for the home game against Macedonia, Giovanni Trapattoni will probably be resigning himself to the idea that he is likely to be missing Given for the return game in Skopje at the start of June.

As things stand, the game falls just outside the recovery schedule mentioned by Mancini, but the time allowed for such injuries is generally closer to four months.

Even if Given does come back in three, there would be little or no opportunity for the Donegal man to get any competitive action under his belt before the Macedonia match.

Ireland do have Carling Nations Cup games against Northern Ireland and Scotland at the end of May, but City would be in a position to prevent Given featuring in those games while even the player may not want to risk the sort of setback that might scupper his chances of getting away from Eastlands over the summer months.

Keiren Westwood is set to replace Given in the Irish team for as long as he is out, but it is still unclear who Trapattoni will name as the other goalkeepers in the squad for the games.

Joe and Brian Murphy, as well as Paddy Kenny and Andy Lonergan, are amongst the most obvious options, but the former two have been injured of late while the latter has never received a call-up for Ireland despite expressing the hope that it might happen.

Former Derry City player David Forde, now with Millwall, has said he would be delighted to receive senior international recognition at this stage of his career.

“International football is something that has just passed me by for my whole career,” says the Galway-born Forde.

“I don’t know why that is but if the call comes to join the squad for the Macedonia game next month, I’ll be over to Dublin in a heartbeat, first one on the plane,” he added.

“It’s awful on a personal level for Shay that he’ll miss the qualifier next month as he’s been such a class goalkeeper for Ireland over the years, but it has given an opportunity to someone else.

“ I don’t know for certain if that will be me but if I do get the call from the FAI, it will be one of the biggest moment of my career.”