City outcast Given shows his Hart
Manchester City goalkeeper Shay Given has come out in support of team-mate Joe Hart in the wake of recent criticism from his club and international managers, with the Irishman insisting he is is happy to help his goalkeeping rival become an even better player.
Given, 34, has endured a frustrating campaign having played just four games since being usurped by Hart as City's No. 1 at the beginning of the season.
The former Newcastle goalkeeper was expected to leave the club in search of first-team football in January but ended up staying at Eastlands, where he will continue to battle Hart for a starting berth.
Hart came under criticism, with both City boss Roberto Mancini and England coach Fabio Capello questioning his concentration, but Given has backed his goalkeeping rival and said he will be there to offer the 23-year-old advice if needed.
"He is a young guy and young in goalkeeping terms as well," Given said. "You know he doesn't pick the team, it's the manager who does. So you would like to think you would help him in any way.
"He'll learn. You know, I made mistakes in my career. You learn from making mistakes, and you become a stronger and better goalkeeper. Joe will be the same."
Given's own future remains uncertain and while he is philosophical on the possibility of continuing as a City benchwarmer, he revealed his belief that he can make it through what has been "a difficult period".
"I don't think worry is the word you're looking for, [but] it's not ideal," Given said. "But you've got to play with the hand you've been dealt. That's the situation I'm in and there's nothing I can do to change that.
"I'm not a young keeper but I've played a good few games in my career and I'd like to think I can call on that experience to get me through a difficult period."