Given excited by Villa move after frustrating time at City

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The Independent Online

There was a ring of sincerity about Shay Given's insistence yesterday that he had no regrets about signing for Manchester City.

As the Irishman was paid a reported basic salary of around £80,000 a week, and pocketed another £1m on leaving, perhaps that should not be entirely surprising, but a year of playing second fiddle to Joe Hart means that despite taking a pay cut – to a mere £60,000 a week – the 35-year-old goalkeeper has even fewer misgivings about becoming the acknowledged No 1 at Aston Villa.

"It was frustrating [at City], but I think it's about moving on for me now and hopefully about creating something special at Aston Villa," said Given.

Well-remunerated as he was, however, Given said he was not prepared to consider another season under Roberto Mancini. "He [Mancini] made it pretty clear I wasn't in his plans," Given said. "It's water under the bridge now and you move on in your career. I wish Joe every success, I think he's going to be a fantastic goalkeeper and I think he played really well last year – he's still very young in goalkeeping terms."

The former Newcastle goalkeeper signed a five-year contract at Villa Park late on Monday in a deal that will cost the Midlands club around £3.5m. Eyebrows have been raised at the length of the contract, but Given said his intention was to play well beyond 40.

"I spoke to [Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni] Trapattoni in the summer and he was talking about Dino Zoff, he had him when he was 42.

"Brad Friedel has just left this club and signed a two-year contract at Tottenham [aged 40] so I do believe that if you do the right stuff in the gym and look after yourself then you know you can play a lot longer as a goalkeeper. That's the aim, I want to play as long as I can."

Without directly naming the player, Villa manager Alex McLeish confirmed the club had made a bid, understood to be £9m, for Wigan Athletic midfielder Charles N'Zogbia. "We've put in a bid and we'll continue to monitor that one as well as others," said the Scot, who has had to oversee the recent departures of Ashley Young to Manchester United, and Stewart Downing to Liverpool.

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