Shay not given Villa guarantee

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Aston Villa boss Alex McLeish insists Irish international stopper Shay Given isn't guaranteed a starting spot when he returns to full fitness.

The Irish international keeper has been out of action for just over a month after suffering a hamstring injury against Manchester United in the 1-0 defeat at Villa Park, but has recently returned to training and has his sights set on a return.

Former Birmingham boss McLeish can't rule out keeping American stand-in Brad Guzan between the sticks however, with the 27-year-old impressing during his run in the first team.

"Shay is not far away. He is champing on the door to be involved this weekend against Everton. Whether he's going to make it, we will have to wait and see. He has made great progress," McLeish told AVTV online.

"He is training with the group and it's a case of how sharp he's feeling and how confident he's feeling before we make a decision about him coming back into the team.

"There are no guarantees of that though, obviously, because of the way Brad has played. He has been fantastic."

Given himself believes the club have been dealt a timely boost with the arrival of compatriot Robbie Keane, currently just training with the Midlands outfit.

The LA Galaxy striker will bring a wealth of experience, should he complete a two-month loan deal as expected in the next 24 hours, and should bolster the goalscoring prowess on show for the Villains in the remainder of January and throughout February.

"It's great for Villa to secure a player of Robbie's calibre, even in the short term. I didn't know how fit he was before the last couple of days in training but he looks really sharp, to be honest," said Given.

"We're all delighted that he's here and I think he's just given the whole dressing room a lift. He's a big personality and he's a big-game player. I think even in training the lads have been very impressed with what they've seen."

Brad Guzan
Premier League
Shay Given
Aston Villa

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