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Guzan hails Given for support

Brad Guzan has spoken up for another member of Aston Villa's old guard, Shay Given, and thanked him for helping him become established as the club's senior keeper.

• Blog: Villa's Christmas wish list

Like Darren Bent at the other end of the pitch and long-term injury victim Richard Dunne, Given is in danger of disappearing off Paul Lambert's radar after not playing a Premier League game since late August.

As one of the club's major earners, he is likely to be available in the January transfer window, all the more so if the American maintains the form that helped protect a vital point in Saturday's game at Queens Park Rangers. But Given has been praised for his supportiveness at a time when he has been restricted to only Capital One Cup appearances.

"Shay has been brilliant and a true professional," said Guzan. "For me to be able to work with someone like him on a day-in, day-out basis is only going to help me. So I am going to continue to try to pick his brain and see what he says about certain situations. That is what we do. We push each other in training and hopefully I make him a better goalkeeper - I know he makes me a better one.

"It's the same with Andy Marshall and the youngsters at the club as well. We have a big goalkeeping family here, if you like, and we try to push each other."

Guzan had a somewhat bewildering summer at Villa Park, being released and then re-signed before being summoned for the trip to Newcastle on September 2 and being preferred to Given for all 12 Premier League games since. Now he is even more grateful to the Republic of Ireland veteran, who he knows would be much happier playing in the side himself.

"Everyone wants to be on the pitch come 3pm on a Saturday," he added. "For a goalkeeper, it is a little more difficult if you are not on that team sheet from the start and it can be frustrating. But, at the same time, you can't take it out on other players, or the other goalkeepers. You have to stay supportive and remember it's a team game.

"You try to do your best to get back in the team, I know, because I've been there for X number of years. You take that support and the frustration and use that to try to get better.

"Hopefully you can play your part in helping the team and I have to say Shay has been fantastic on and off the pitch. He's a big character in terms of the dressing room and has been fantastic towards me."

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