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Sep 4, 2012

Guzan happy to take Villa chance

Brad Guzan has left Shay Given with plenty to think about during the international fortnight break after ousting him from Aston Villa's Premier League team for the first time.

Given, 36, recently called time on his Republic of Ireland career in order to protect his place at club level.

But defeats in Villa's opening two top-flight matches led to 27-year-old Guzan being preferred for Sunday's game against Newcastle - and he responded by impressing hugely in the 1-1 draw at St James's Park.

Now Given faces an uncertain future, with 6ft 4in USA international Guzan in line to continue for the visit of Swansea to Villa Park a week on Saturday.

"The manager names his team an hour before kick-off, so that's when I knew I was in," Guzan said. "Everyone just wants an opportunity. The work we do on the training ground among myself, Shay, Andy Marshall and the younger goalkeepers - it's an environment where, every day, you have to come to work and put your best foot forward.

"You get called upon and you want to help the team do well. Hopefully we can keep moving forwards and build on this. We have got a young team but we have a bunch of hungry lads who want to get after it and do well and prove themselves to the manager. When you put all of those things together, good things will happen."

Demotion at the home of one of his former clubs was particularly painful for Given and was not a situation he would have envisaged happening so soon - especially as Guzan left the club at the end of last season, only to return and sign a new three-year contract following the appointment of Paul Lambert as manager.

Guzan is used to spells on the sidelines. As well as previously being back-up to Given, and before that Brad Friedel, at Villa, he also deputises for Everton's Tim Howard on international duty.

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