Shay Given today revealed he was “gutted” to be axed as Villa’s first-choice goalkeeper and vowed to put in the hard yards to win back his place.
Villa boss Paul Lambert dropped the Irishman after the 3-1 home defeat to Everton on August 25 and handed American keeper Brad Guzan an opportunity to impress between the sticks.
Given briefly returned to the side last month for the 4-2 win over former club Manchester City in the Capital One Cup, but Guzan has retained his place for Premier League matches.
And while the 36-year-old has been disappointed not to be involved regularly he is determined to force his way back into Lambert’s plans.
“Frustration can sometimes boil over if you’re not playing, but for me it’s important that I keep my head down and work hard every day,” said Given, a veteran of 462 league appearances.
“I am gutted that I am not playing in the team, that’s natural, and hopefully if I work hard I’ll get back in the side. He (Lambert) is not scared to leave people out, including me.”
Meanwhile, Christian Benteke has promised to repay the faith shown in him by Lambert – but also plans to wind up the Villa boss if Belgium beat Scotland tonight.
The striker has started four out of five games under Lambert since he joined Villa for £7m from Genk on transfer deadline day.
Benteke has found the net once for Villa – in the 2-0 win over Swansea on his debut – since he arrived but has been a regular starter.
And ahead of Belgium’s World Cup qualifier against Scotland, for whom Lambert won 40 caps in an eight-year international career, Benteke promised to deliver for the Villa boss even though he will rub the Scot’s nose in it should the result go his way.
“On a personal level, Paul Lambert is the perfect manager for me. He has taken me from Genk and given me a lot of confidence so I enjoy working for him,” said 21-year-old Benteke.
“He didn’t mention me playing against Scotland but when I get back to Villa, I hope I’ll be the one doing all the shouting!”