Aston Villa keeper Shay Given claims he always believed he was one of the best goalkeepers in the Barclays Premier League, even during his time as No.2 at Manchester City.
The Republic of Ireland international keeper spent last season on the bench under Roberto Mancini with the Citizens, but joined the Villains for a reported £3.5 million in July after Brad Friedel left the club.
His transition into the Villains' first team has been seamless, and the 35-year-old once again emphasised his ability with a couple of outstanding saves to deny former club Newcastle United all three points on Saturday.
“I don’t think you ever doubt yourself and early games helped me to focus. It was only one man’s opinion, it wasn’t my opinion or most other people’s opinion," said Given post-match.
“You have to be strong as a player and as an individual. You have to keep your head down and work hard and know you have a chance of performing again in the Premier League.
“I was frustrated last season not to be playing more so I am just delighted to be back out there. Villa is a great club and I am happy to be here and to be playing football again.”
Reflecting on his performance against the Toon, Given admitted it was frustrating that Alex McLeish's side were unable to claim all three points, a target of the Villains for all home games.
However, the stopper, who brilliantly denied Yohan Cabaye and Steven Taylor in the second-half, admitted that a point was a fair result.
"When Cabaye hit that volley I thought I was in a bit of trouble! But luckily enough I got a strong hand to get it around the post," he told the official Aston Villa website.
"They did cause us some problems and it was disappointing from our point of view as we want to win our home games. It was different leading up to the game playing against my old team who I played with for 12 years.
"But it was all about Aston Villa and trying to get three points. Looking at the game it was probably a fair result. We started the game really well but we seemed to take our foot off the gas a little bit. Newcastle came right back into the game and caused us problems. But overall it was probably a fair result."
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