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Given opts to stay

As per Daniel Taylor in The Guardian, it appears as though - contrary to initially thought - Shay Given had decided against opting for a move away from the club in the wake of losing his place in the side to Joe Hart.

Whilst a surprise, it is perhaps a logical decision on Given's behalf, based on two main points that Taylor highlights:

Uppermost in Given's mind was that he had joined City in the hope that he could win the first trophy of his career and that, by leaving for a smaller club, he would effectively be passing over that chance.

He was also worried he might jeopardise his place in the Republic of Ireland team but the manager, Giovanni Trapattoni , has assured him that is not the case.

Clearly (having witnessed the situation with Craig Bellamy) a suggested move to Arsenal was never going to materialise so Given would have been faced with a possible move to Fulham (depending on the outcome of their own situation with Mark Schwarzer).

Having joined the club with the intention of landing the first honours of his career, Given would have all but given up on that hope, a big call that may have been made by him in haste following the disappointment of being ousted from the side.

I'm sure that his decision to stay - whilst not including a guarantee of games - would have been made with the re-assurance that he will get to compete with Hart (no easy task considering his early season form), and with the knowledge that with competing hard on four fronts he is likely to see action as Hart is unlikely to be able to feature in 60+ games during the course of the season.

The difficulty you have with Given remaining at the club is the danger that it becomes an ongoing issue through the season. Despite being the back up at present, he and Hart do not have defined roles within the squad - being more of a 1 and 1a - and the concern is that it does become a distraction with Given expecting playing time whilst Hart himself will not be keen to relinquish the gloves.

The goalkeeping position is not as interchangeable as other positions in the side, so it won't be a case of switching players in and out of the side - at best Given will play in the Carling Cup and a couple of games in the Europa League.

There were also suggestions that Given has been 'sweetened' by a pay increase to ease the discomfort of having being axed, but, with another window in January expect the same merry go round of rumours that have surfaced in recent weeks.