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Lambert: No problem with dropping Given

Paul Lambert has said he has no qualms in relegating one of his senior professionals to the bench after doing so to Shay Given.

Given, 36, was dropped for Aston Villa's 1-1 draw at Newcastle on Sunday after indifferent form in the first two games of the season.

The Republic of Ireland's all-time appearance record holder was replaced by Brad Guzan, who turned in a fine performance that should secure his spot in the starting line-up for some time to come.

Despite Given being recognised as one of the finest keepers in the Premier League for the last 15 years, his new boss saw no problem in making the change.

"It is always tough to leave a player out, especially a world class goalkeeper like Shay, but I made the decision and some of the saves Brad made were world class," Lambert said of his American stopper. "I had a chat with Shay about this situation the other day and he was fine.

"Brad's handling was superb and that he was playing meant that it needed a very special goal to get past him. That is what we saw in Hatem Ben Arfa's equaliser, but we come away from Newcastle feeling good about the performance."

Lambert hopes his side's first point of the season will spark Villa into life after the international break, as he suggests the cynics who had hit the panic button after two early defeats were reminded of the quality in his side.

"We have a young team and everything will not click into place overnight when a new manager comes in," he added. "The Newcastle performance and result is a start for us as we showed against a strong team that we have some very good players around the club."

Meanwhile, the Villa boss confirmed he is hoping to hand new £7m signing Christian Benteke a debut in Villa's next game against Swansea.


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