Hughes taken aback by Given
Manchester City manager Mark Hughes claims goalkeeper Shay Given's performances between the posts have exceeded expectations. Given celebrated his 100th cap for the Republic of Ireland in midweek by keeping a clean sheet in the draw against Montenegro in their final World Cup qualifier. He has the play-off draw to look forward to on Monday but 24 hours before that will be back on domestic duty against Wigan at the DW Stadium. Given arrived from Newcastle in January and took the jersey from Joe Hart, who is now on loan at Birmingham. Hughes is delighted with the way the 33-year-old has raised the bar. He said: "Shay has been more than I could have hoped for. In terms of his presence on the field of play, he has a calming influence on the back four. There has been a marked difference in the way the guys in front of him have been able to defend. That comes from his knowledge of the game. "He knows when you might need to take the sting out of games or build momentum. That starts from Shay. Off the field he is a guy who has an opinion and is not afraid to voice it. I encourage that situation as it is important. He has had a huge effect both on and off the field." Hughes added: "I am very proud he has been able to win his 100th cap while being a Manchester City player because not many people get to that level."
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