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Oi Bob, Play Shay!

Play Given, you crazy fool!

So says an emotional George Caveney

I’m not saying Hart has crumbled. Nor am I saying there’s a problem, per se – unless you consider shipping goals like convicts to the antipodes a problem. Oh right, yes. So it is… Sorry. Especially when we can no longer blame the back line at City that seems to have settled in, and one or two of them score goals to semi-remedy the situation.

It’s not as if there’s a ‘safe’ way to experiment when you’re aiming for a cup and a top four spot, but I think Hart needs a rest and a reason to up his game. Shay Given hasn’t exactly kept schtum about his unhappiness sitting down for 90 minutes twice a week, but he’s not really moaned either, all things considered.

He’s one of the best goalies in the game, and I’d guess many City fans agree he deserves a damn good crack at helping us achieve what we all want. Hart being first choice is fine – he’s top notch – but I get the impression he’s tired, and let’s not forget what a great job Shay did last season until his arm nearly came off at Arsenal.

He may, of course, not have recovered from this as fully as we’re led to believe, but even neutral fans would agree it’d be a shame if 2009-10 was Shay’s last high-profile Premiership season. Fingers crossed for him and City it isn’t. And I seriously doubt it, which is why he’ll make a wise move this summer if Mancini doesn’t show faith in him when his services are required.

Like RIGHT NOW, for example.

Play him against West Brom. To hell with it – stick your nuts on the slab, Roberto, and start him at United and the first leg v Aris Salonika. Let him remind everyone, including Hart, he’s been around a while and can still stop just about anything you fire at him. I would.

But then I’m not a football manager. What do I know? Well, I know that when the ball enters the net behind Joe 90 and no-one waves a flag to suggest an infringement only men understand, lots of Mancs and Arabs use bad language while Mancini’s chin disappears further under his scarf. And sometimes we lose a rung in the league ladder or whatever it’s called, and our ‘GD’ rating is made bad, etc.

It might not be the answer, and there might not even be a valid question in the first place. But it’s worth a try. At this level, it’s often about taking risks with confidence. I really think so.


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Article title: Oi Bob, Play Shay!

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