IRELAND MANAGER HAS opened the door to a return to the international set-up for Shay Given.
Former number one Given earned 125 senior caps before retiring after Euro 2012. Now 37, the Donegal stopper recently joined Championship outfit Middlesbrough on loan from Aston Villa and went straight into the team — starting all of Boro’s last four games.
Last month, Given revealed that he would be open to sitting down with Ireland’s new management team and, speaking at his end-of-year press conference today, O’Neill says it is a possibility.
“I would not discount that,” O’Neill said. “I haven’t spoken to Shay but I will do at some stage. I’m having a conversation here with you about someone I haven’t talked about.
I know Shay and I’ve met him a few times but that is before I took the job on. That is something I certainly wouldn’t discount if I had a conversation and he was thinking about coming back.”
Keiren Westwood and David Forde have both featured during O’Neill’s first two games in charge with the Sunderland keeper since losing his place to Vito Mannone at Sunderland while Forde has conceded ten goals in the five games which followed for Millwall.
Goalkeeping coach Seamus McDonagh has also been to see Birmingham’s in-form Darren Randolph, who was left out of the last Ireland squad with Newcastle’s back-up Rob Elliot getting his first call-up.
“Seamus has been at Birmingham to watch him and was very impressed,” added O’Neill. “He thought he did very well.
“I went to Millwall and Wigan a fortnight ago and David didn’t do too badly in the match. Millwall actually beat Wigan in the game, James (McClean) was playing for Wigan, and he (Forde) didn’t do too badly.
“Sometimes goalkeepers can concede goals when it’s not really their fault. David made two or three blindingly-good saves during the course of that match. We’re monitoring that as much as possible.”