SportSoccer

Martin O'Neill hopes for Shay Given return, Koeman delivers positive Shane Long update

SoccerBy Sunday World
Martin O'Neill hopes for Shay Given return, Koeman delivers positive Shane Long update

Republic of Ireland boss Martin O'Neill has not given up hope of having veteran goalkeeper Shay Given available for the Euro 2016 finals.

Stoke City's Given, who celebrates his 40th birthday next month, completed a period of rehabilitation at the Aspetar orthopaedic and sports medical hospital in Qatar last month as he attempts to battle his way back from knee surgery.

O'Neill is keen to have his most experienced campaigner available to him this summer and is monitoring the situation.

Speaking on Wednesday in Paris at an event to mark the 100-day countdown to the tournament, he told reporters: "Seamus McDonagh (the national goalkeeping coach) is in close contact with him. He hasn't played really since coming off against Germany, and that's a fairly lengthy period of time, but if he's making good progress, then we'll see how it goes."

Given has not played since damaging his knee during the Republic's famous 1-0 qualifying victory over world champions Germany in October last year with West Ham's Darren Randolph, who replaced him that night, having started in the final group game against Poland and the play-off double-header against Bosnia-Herzegovina.

 

Given retired from international football after the Euro 2012 finals having collected 125 senior caps, but resumed in a friendly against Oman in September 2014 and has since taken his tally to 133 after re-establishing himself as his country's number one before injury struck.

O'Neill said: "He's played a big part for us since he came out of retirement. He's been an exceptional goalkeeper for us, just an exceptional goalkeeper, so we'll monitor his situation."

Meanwhile, Southampton's manager Ronald Koeman has delivered a positive injury update on Shane Long, who limped off in the Saints' 2-0 away defeat to Bournemouth on Tuesday.

While the Irish striker will miss the club's tie at St Mary's against Sunderland on Saturday, Koeman is hopeful that the Tipperary man will return to action against Stoke City the following weekend.

O'Neill's men kick off their Euro 2016 campaign against Sweden in Paris on June 13, with a clash against Belgium in Bordeaux on June 18 before the final group game on June 22 in Lille against Italy.