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It's a big night for Shay Given as he makes his first Premier League start for Stoke

Has the door to Martin O’Neill’s Euro 2016 squad been flung open?

SHAY GIVEN WILL make his first Premier League appearance in nearly a year this evening as Stoke City host title challengers Tottenham Hotspur.

The Ireland goalkeeper, who turns 40 on Wednesday, has been preferred to Jakob Haugaard by Mark Hughes for the clash at the Britannia Stadium.

Given’s last top-flight appearance was for Aston Villa in May 2015.

He last featured for the Potters in the Capital One Cup win over Fulham last September and had recently fallen behind Haugaard in the pecking order following Jack Butland’s season-ending injury.

But Haugaard’s inexperience was exposed during last week’s defeat to Liverpool and although Hughes publicly back the young Danish ‘keeper, he has opted for Given between the posts.

Not only does it offer Given the opportunity to stake his claim for the number one jersey for the rest of the campaign but opens the door for him to force his way into Ireland’s Euro 2016 squad.

A strong finish to the season, starting tonight, could see Given earn a place in Martin O’Neill’s squad for France.

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Ryan Bailey

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