Sulky City subs need to be axed
TEAMtalk's Simon Wilkes feels Manchester City need to offload sulky subs Shay Given and Emmanuel Adebayor if they want to win silverware. I have to say I'm sick and tired of seeing Given with a face like a wet weekend on the City bench. The Republic of Ireland stopper got a chance to shine at The Hawthorns on Wednesday night, and although he pulled off a few good saves, he ended up on the losing side as West Brom won their Carling Cup third-round tie 2-1. Admittedly it's the first time the 34-year-old has found himself as a number two goalkeeper - but the way he has reacted to that has been ridiculous, petulant and completely unprofessional in my opinion. Given has fallen behind England's current top man between the sticks, Joe Hart, in the Eastlands pecking order - and the former Shrewsbury star has rewarded Roberto Mancini's faith in him with a string of fine displays. On his lack of first-team football, Given recently said: "It's very, very frustrating. I know it doesn't matter what I do on the training pitch, I won't be playing at the weekend. If I'm flying around like Clark Kent in goals, I still won't play on Saturday. That can be demoralising." Tell that to Steve Harper, Shay, and perhaps take a leaf out of his book instead of spitting your dummy out. During his time at Newcastle, Given started in goal week in, week out - no matter what sort of form he was in. In the 2001/02 season, he played in every Premiership match - but never once did you see Harper with a long face in the dugout; he just kept his head down, kept himself fit and ready for whenever he was needed. Harper's loyalty, patience and professionalism is now being rewarded on Tyneside (before his recent shoulder injury anyway) as he is their undisputed number one, and a fine role model for his rivals for the jersey. The frenetic nature and sheer number of games in a season these days means Hart could well pick up an injury at some point over the campaign, but Given's demeanour on the sidelines whenever he's watching on shows a real lack of respect for his team-mate. Mancini insists Given is an "important" part of his plans for the club - but the keeper's egotistical reaction to his current situation means the City boss has begrudgingly agreed to possibly let him leave on loan in January. City are trying to build a lasting legacy at Eastlands but in order to do so they need to weed out those players who can't see the bigger picture of being a squad player ready to give 100% when called upon. This means Mancini may also push Adebayor - Given's grumpy partner in crime - towards the exit door in the New Year and continue his recruitment of players who take pride in playing for the badge, not just the wedge, like Adam Johnson and James Milner. The sheer money at City's disposal means there will always be the marquee signings like Yaya Toure and David Silva - but if they are to become a true contender for trophies over the next decade Mancini needs to be ruthless and offload any disruptive influences in the same way he packed motormouth moaner Craig Bellamy off to Cardiff. Chelsea and Manchester United have been dominant forces in recent seasons because they have large squads of players who thrive on their team-mates doing well, whether they're on the bench or on the pitch. Mancini needs to forge that sort of solidarity if he is deliver the silverware demanded by his success-hungry owners - and being as Given and Adebayor pick up their hefty pay packets regardless of whether they're in the team or not, their visible unhappiness on the bench is both staggering and annoying.
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