Dear Ireland, Please Consider Given Your Keeper A Rest

Shay Given doesn't need to sleep with Alex McLeish's daughter to pick up a groin injury.

There's just something about Aston Villa and groin injuries (something I really don't want to think that much about, to be perfectly honest). Yesterday we made sure to finally tell you about Darren Bent's groin owies, and today, we're talking about Shay Given and his ever-hurting nether-regions.

While watching Republic of Ireland draw 0-0 with Slovakia on Friday, I noticed Given was taking his goal kicks with his left leg rather than his right, indicating he's still suffering discomfort in his groin. He took kicks with his left leg against Blackburn, and prior to that match, James Collins was taking them. Disconcerting, to say the least. Now, it's been reported that Given missed training on Sunday morning with a back injury, and Ireland coach Giovanni Trapattoni will wait until the last minute to decide whether he'll play against Russia on Tuesday.

Back before the season started, I wrote a post on my worry over whether the training methods under the new Alex McLeish regime would result in more injuries than the Villa squad could afford. Granted, it's likely not time to panic yet -- two injuries shouldn't cause a mental breakdown. But we've also had a couple players limp off with injuries in the middle of matches, most notably Emile Heskey and Gabby Agbonlahor

With a lack of depth at almost every position, the last thing Villa need are injuries. And I think we can all agree that injuries to Bent and Given would probably have the most disastrous effect on the team's ability to pick up points. In the long run, it's probably time to reconsider whatever methods are causing consistent injuries, as we can't survive another injurypocalypse like last season.

In the short-term, however, it's just fine with me if Ireland refuses to risk Given this week. Not only does it keep him save for Villa duty, but it gives Russia a better chance at a win (and therefore, Slovakia a better chance at qualification). But considering the match is being played in Russia, and Ireland desperately want this shot at Euro 2012, I'm guessing it's almost certain Given will play.

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