One of Newcastle’s greatest modern day players is now accepting his days are numbered, with Shay Given hoping to end his career with a flourish this summer.

It remains to be seen if he will continue in club football next season but certainly Given’s international days are now in the final stretch.

Ironically, Newcastle’s current number one Rob Elliot’s recent serious ACL injury has helped ease the way back for the former United keeper, himself recently returned from his own long lay-off.

Shay Given is easily, in my opinion, Newcastle’s best goalkeeper in living memory and goes down in the all-time record books as well, with the third most appearances ever for the club, with only Jimmy Lawrence and Frank Hudspeth having played more games.

Given, fitness permitting, looks sure to be in the Ireland squad for the Euros and it is only a question of whether he will dislodge West Ham’s number two, Darren Randolph, for the top job in France this summer.

On the bench for the last couple of matches for Stoke, Shay Given has seen inexperienced 23 year old Jacob Haugaard concede six in only two games, after standing in for the injured Jack Butland.

Given is now expected to take over on Monday night when Stoke entertain Tottenham, only two days before the brilliant Irish keeper turns 40.

Shay Given has 133 caps and ironically, just like current Newcastle keepers Krul and Elliot, he picked up his long-term knee injury when playing Germany last October.

Shay Given

“Everyone wants to be at the Euros and it’s probably the last chance for me personally and I’d like to go out with a bang.

“I don’t think I have many games left in me because I’m 40 next week.”

Good luck to Shay Given in Rob Elliot’s absence and great to see somebody who is obviously so driven to keep on playing because he loves football so much.

It is very hard not to compare Given’s attitude to so many of the chancers in this modern era, especially the wage stealers we have had at Newcastle.

A perfect example/contrast is Michael Owen.

Whilst naturally goalkeepers are capable of playing a bit longer, just compare Shay Given looking forward to Premier League football and the Euros at the age of 40, with what happened to our former striker.

After joining Newcastle at the age of 25, Michael Owen only started 64 Premier League matches in all of his remaining career – actually only starting six league games after turning 29.

Owen then retiring at the age of 33, though it was difficult for anybody to really tell the difference…