Ask 100 football fans to name their top 3 Premier League goalkeepers and chances are, at least 95% of those fans will include Manchester City keeper Shay Given in their top 3.
One man who certainly wouldn’t include Given in his top 3 is the Guardian’s Barry Glendenning. Anyone who listens to the Guardian Football Podcast will know exactly what Glendenning thinks of Given.
His theory is that it’s no longer a coincidence that every team Given has played for has a poor defence. Glendenning also feels that if Given was any good, a bigger club like Arsenal would have signed him by now. I must admit, I am starting to agree with Glendenning.
If you take a look at Manchester City’s goals against column this season, you will see that in 23 Premier League games, Given has conceded 32 goals. Compare that to the likes of Mark Schwarzer at Fulham who has conceded 28 goals in 24 Premier League games this season, whilst Joe Hart has conceded just 23 goals in 23 games at Birmingham.
The one thing you have to give Given is that he is a terrific shot stopper, however his lack of organisation and some of his decision making, which is quite poor at times, lead me to believe that Given is not an all-round good goalkeeper. Whenever the likes of Jamie Redknapp or Mark Lawrenson say something like : “Without Given, City could have conceded 4 or 5 today” it always annoys me. I always think the opposite : “Without Given, City may not have conceded 2 or 3 goals today.”
You may think I am being a bit harsh on Given, however, as an Irishman, who has been following Manchester City for years now, I strongly believe Given is not a good goalkeeper.