Boss Paul Lambert today offered Shay Given a shock Villa lifeline – but will not stand in his way if he wants to quit the club.
The goalkeeper is eyeing a move after being frozen out by Lambert and is behind Brad Guzan and Jed Steer in the pecking order.
Given has not played a Premier League game since August 2012 and is yet to feature this season after Steer’s arrival from Norwich. But Lambert has praised the ex-Ireland star’s attitude and insisted he would consider a surprise recall.
“If anything happened to Brad I would have no problem with him coming back in on a matchday,” he said, ahead of Sunday’s visit of Tottenham.
“Shay’s been excellent around the place, he’s a great pro and does everything right.
“He’s a great keeper, but we had to make a decision we thought was right. He trains really hard and I’m sure Brad Guzan and Jed Steer would say Shay’s been great for them.
And Lambert insisted Given will be allowed to leave if the right deal becomes available.
“I spoke to Shay and said that if something does happen we’ll look at it,” he said.
“He wants to play, no two ways about it, and he needs to play.”
“I know Shay’ll be disappointed, but when you get a good pro you know what you’re going to work with, but it’s testament to him that he keeps training the way he does and behaves the way he does.
“I’m not surprised about the way he is, he’s a really good guy.”
Given still has two-and-a-half years left on the five-year contract he signed when he moved from Manchester City for £3m in 2011.
A move to Liverpool collapsed on deadline day while Doncaster were also linked with a loan swoop.
“But he is a positive influence around the place and that’s one thing you can never say about Shay, that’s he’s not a good professional.”