Football

Shay return not a Given - Hughton

Shay return not a Given - Hughton (©PAphotos)
Shay return not a Given - Hughton (©PAphotos).

Newcastle boss Chris Hughton has dismissed speculation that keeper Shay Given could make an emotional return to St James' Park as cover for the injured Steve Harper.

Republic of Ireland international Given, 34, has lost his Manchester City place to Joe Hart this season and is desperate for regular football. However, despite seeing 35-year-old Harper, the man who for so long acted as back-up to the Irishman during his 11-and-a-half-year stay on Tyneside, suffer a nasty shoulder injury at Everton on Saturday, Hughton will not be contacting City counterpart Roberto Mancini.

Asked about the speculation, he said: "I can understand that one and it is a very emotional one as well, but no, I can categorically say that won't be happening."

Newcastle's position on Given is perhaps equally understandable with the keeper having finally lost patience with life at St James' in the wake of a humiliating 5-1 home defeat by Liverpool in December 2008. He made it clear he wanted to play his football elsewhere and eventually got his wish when City pushed through an £8million swoop for him at the end of the following month.

Having waited so long for his chance, Harper and his team-mates suffered the misery of relegation at the end of that season, but he proved a more than capable replacement as they regained their top-flight status at the first attempt.

However, his luck changed for the worse on Saturday when he landed awkwardly after an untidy challenge by striker Jermaine Beckford and damaged a ligament in his shoulder.

The full extent of the injury is still being assessed, but Hughton admitted Harper could face a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

He said: "The important thing for us is to asses where Steve Harper is at this particular moment. What we do know is it is a ligament injury to his shoulder. That will be assessed over the next couple of days.

"It is probably a little bit unfair to state how long he will be out for because at this moment, we don't know. But it will be for a period of time.

"It's a massive disappointment for him. He is a player who I felt was the best goalkeeper in the Championship last season. He has worked very, very hard to get to the level he has and has started the season very well for us."

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Topics:
Internationals
Joe Hart
Football
Manchester City
Championship
Steve Harper
Premier League
Newcastle United
Shay Given
Everton
Jermaine Beckford
Liverpool

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