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Press article:

Write off Shay at your peril, Solano warns rivals - 26/10/2002

Write off Shay at your peril, Solano warns rivals
A great keeper
   Shay Given
   Steve Harper
   Newcastle United

Nolberto Solano has warned the Premiership's leading strikeforces to write off a wounded Shay Given at their peril with the Irishman determined to respond positively to Wednesday's first team snub, writes SIMON RUSHWORTH. Sir Bobby Robson had always planned to recall his recognised number one against Charlton today but Steve Harper's heroics against Juventus on Wednesday have left the Newcastle boss with a selection headache. And Solano, who accepts there is very little to choose between United's goalkeeping rivals, has urged both his manager and fans to remember the heroic performances of last season's leading Premiership shot-stopper. "I feel sorry for Shay," admitted the Peruvian international as Newcastle prepared to turn their attention back towards domestic action. "Everybody had a bad day at Blackburn last weekend but he bore the brunt of the criticism. Last season Shay was a hero. He has won two big awards this year and been to the World Cup with Ireland. "He is still one of the best goalkeepers in Europe but football doesn't always do you favours."

Harper will be disappointed if he does not, as expected, retain the goalkeeper's jersey against the Addicks but Solano has warned Charlton's strikers they would be foolish to take Given lightly if he does earn a swift recall. "Steve Harper came in against Juventus but it would be ridiculous to write off Shay," added United's right winger. "He has been at the top of his game for the last 18 months and has rarely put a foot wrong. Solano admits that Newcastle are in a particularly privileged position in boasting two experienced keepers nearing the peak of their careers and insists that such strength in depth is a major advantage with fixtures coming thick and fast.

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