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Inside Matters: Given - Loved ones lifted me in tough times

10 Jun 2020

Former Newcastle goalkeeper highlights how important family and friends are through both good and bad moments

Sitting third in the all-time list for Premier League appearances made by goalkeepers with 451, Shay Given displayed tremendous longevity during his playing career.

But the former Republic of Ireland international did have to overcome the disappointment of injuries.

Getting through those proved challenging, as he explains in the 11th part of "Inside Matters", a series of exclusive interviews with football stars about the mental challenges they have faced.

"I was in a hospital in London for a full week," says Given after he suffered a perforated bowel following a heavy collision with West Ham United forward Marlon Harewood in September 2006.

"So coming back from that was, I suppose, mentally tough as much as the injury, healing and having open surgery on my stomach and stuff. It was quite a big operation."

Help at hand

Given was only able to eat soup in the week after suffering the injury and he subsequently lost a lot of weight. Support from his friends and family proved crucial during those difficult moments.

"Steve Harper, I remember, came to visit me at the house one time," said Given. "He goes, 'Pal, you don’t look well at all.' So you can imagine what it does to your body and just your whole sort of mentality.

"But the people around you, your family and your friends, that’s important. You know they’re always there for you through the good times and the bad times.

"I think that network of people around you is so important, because there is a life outside of football as well and your network around you, the people who support you all the time, they were key at the time as well."

Also in this series 

See: Inside Matters: Stars discuss mental health challenges

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