Blues keeper lauds hero Given
Northern Ireland number one Taylor has played with and against some of the best goalkeepers around, including Edwin van der Sar during their spell together at Fulham. But he feels Given is currently at the peak of his career, as demonstrated during Sunday's goalless draw at St Andrew's. Given pulled off a series of fine saves, most notably a second-half penalty stop from James McFadden, to earn his team a fortunate point. Taylor said: "How good is Given? He was always top quality at Newcastle but, since he has gone to Manchester City, he has almost gone to another level. "He really is one of the world's best, not just in the Premier League, and he never put a foot wrong against us. "His kicking and distribution was unbelievable and everything is top drawer about Shay at the moment. He is really on song. "But he has worked extremely hard to get to the level that he is at now and good luck to him. "He broke our hearts but it was a fantastic save from the penalty. It was a decent penalty. He definitely earned them a point and we felt a bit deflated. "Shay rarely makes a mistake. Keepers are judged on mistakes and reliability and he rarely makes them. "But in addition to that he also comes up with a world-class save when needed as well. He is a very good presence for Man City and I can't praise him highly enough." City boss Mark Hughes echoed Taylor's sentiments and said: "That is why I brought Shay to the club because I knew he would have that capacity when you need someone to produce something for you to keep you in the game. "Shay has done that right throughout his career and he was exceptional again at Birmingham to earn us the point." Hughes is aware that City can play a lot better but is hoping skipper Kolo Toure and striker Emmanuel Adebayor will be available after injury for Saturday's home game with Burnley. He said: "We are missing a couple of players and we have got players coming back from injury as well so that's got to have an impact. "Adebayor and Toure haven't trained a great deal in the last two or three weeks so they need a good week of training and hopefully they will be an option next weekend." Birmingham boss Alex McLeish is happy with the progress being made by his players, many of whom are short of Premier League experience, during the opening two and a half months of the campaign. He said: "It was a disappointed dressing room after the game because they knew they had a real chance of getting the three points. "Everyone was saying Birmingham would do well to keep the score down but it was a very positive performance and the players gave everything. "They were awesome in their energy and what they put into the game. We are just lacking that finishing touch to one or two things but I think we are still improving. "It is a new experience for a lot of the players, playing in the Premier League, and a lot of these guys are developing extremely well." McLeish added: "I liked the performance against Sunderland last week and I've now seen two games in a row of great consistency and quality and the players have got to take that forward. "The evidence is there that they can compete at this level. It should be planted in their minds now."
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