Shay Given spent time with his family in the Mediterranean this summer and followed a strict fitness regime to regain his old fitness.
Shay Given – could be fitter now than for many a season
Shay trained every morning, but also had his family over with him so he could spent the rest of the time with his family. Sounds like a good arrangement, and it allowed Shay to start the pre-season super fit.
â€œI was known as â€˜Lazarusâ€™ before, but they call me â€˜Sicknoteâ€™ now!â€ â€œIâ€™m hoping thatâ€™s all behind me. Iâ€™ve still got to do strengthening exercises in the gym to stay on top of things, but touch wood itâ€™s gone.”
â€œI had two operations in April, then for three weeks I didnâ€™t really do anything, the wound was healing. After that I was starting recovery work in the gym. Iâ€™ve been training all summer really.”
“I went to Spain, the physio came out with me and we were training together for three weeks. It was a joint decision with the club. Marbella Football Club were kind enough to let me use their facilities.”
“It was good to have a change of scenery and spend a bit of time with the family as well, because they came over too. We trained hard until lunchtime then I spent the rest of the day with the family. We did a lot of gym work, then a lot of goalkeeping.”
â€œI hope the injury situation is all over with now. I felt I had to work through the summer this year. I just wanted to get myself firing for the start of the season. Everythingâ€™s been going well, and I feel fit and strong.”
â€œItâ€™s been really frustrating the last couple of years. It stemmed from the challenge at West Ham and itâ€™s been stop-starty for me since, especially considering that previous to that Iâ€™d gone so many seasons barely missing a game.â€
Shay has only had around 30 games since the Upton Park disaster almost two years ago now, but he is still fairly young for a goalkeeper, at 32 years old, and has always taken very good care of himself.
â€œIâ€™ve just turned 32 in April which in goalkeeping terms is still quite young,â€ â€œYou look at Brad Friedel who has just moved to Villa at the age of 37 on a three-year contract and David James has probably just had the best season of his career at 37.”
“Iâ€™d like to play as long as I can. People say you should retire at the top and hopefully I will, but Iâ€™d just like to play as many games as I can and see where that takes me.â€
Shay has always wanted to be successful at Newcastle, ever since he arrives in the summer of 1997, in terms of helping Newcastle win something, although he hasn’t been successful at that, well not yet at least.
â€œI canâ€™t say it is going to be better, but we certainly hope so,â€ â€œI do feel we need to strengthen the squad a bit more.”
â€œIâ€™m not going to say itâ€™s going to be better or that weâ€™re going to finish here or there, itâ€™s hard to judge.â€
We still don’t know who will be number 1 goalkeeper, starting in a week’s time at Old Trafford.
But we suspect Shay could get the nod at Manchester United, and then it will be on how good his form is, as to whether he can keep hold of the goalkeeper jersey, from his more than capable deputy, Steve Harper.