By 90Min
November 07, 2017

A lot has changed since Shay Given last put on a Manchester City shirt both on and off the pitch at the Etihad stadium. The Irishman may have had a glittering playing career, but he still has a strong affiliation with the club now. 

Since retirement, his life now has different focuses and he now finds himself distracted with media work, book promotions and coaching goalkeepers at National League side Macclesfield Town. 

Speaking to the Mail on Sunday, with extracts taken from his new autobiography Shay: Any Given Sunday, Given acknowledges that the Citizens have taken giant steps regarding their progress, but some key figures remain from his time at the club most notably the Spanish midfield magician David Silva, who he rates as one of the best.

The talented and technically gifted Silva, is now one of the first names on manager Pep Guardiola's team sheets particularly for the 'big' games. Given cannot understand why the midfield playmaker does not receive more coverage or plaudits.

"I don't know why he's not talked up, maybe because he's not plastered over the magazines or spends his time promoting computer games. He's a bit like Paul Scholes was in that respect.

"City have spent hundreds of millions of pounds and quite possibly could have signed likes of Hazard or Mesut Ozil but, no, they've got their own superstar. Speak to any Premier League manager and they'd love to have David Silva in their team, I'm sure.

"People say he's been rejuvenated under Pep but to be honest I don't think he ever dipped. He'd still do a great job for Barcelona or Paris St Germain if they signed him."

As someone who regularly faced the Spanish World Cup winner in training and had a great view of him tormenting the opposition in games, Given's insight into what makes Silva unique is intriguing.

Maurizio Lagana/GettyImages

'You can't coach the stuff he does on a football pitch. It's phenomenal,' says Given. 'He finds space where defenders don't know where to go, midfielders don't know where to pick him up. His passing is a natural gift, he can be facing one way, and a blue shirt is making a run in the polar opposite direction. And he'll see it, the only player on the pitch who can see it.

'Before he receives a pass, he already knows where he'd like to play the next one. He's so good, even when he's working hard, it looks effortless, because he's got this soft touch. Kenny Dalglish had it, this football brain. That's what David has.'

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After having a 20-year international career with the Republic of Ireland and making 136 appearances for his country, he more than most will appreciate what makes a top goalkeeper. 

This is certainly an area of the field that has proved problematic for City recently. However, he has been impressed by summer acquisition Ederson's early season performances which has made Manchester City look more defensively formidable. 

"He brought a composure and speed off the line. And obviously he's comfortable with his feet, short and long passes," assesses Given.

"We're waiting for the moment when he might have to make that season-defining save that leaves everyone asking: 'How did he do that?'  I'm not saying he can't do it but that time hasn't come yet. People talked about the save from Hazard and Chelsea but that would be one I'd expect him to make.

"He's still a young goalkeeper, 24, and to be fair to Guardiola, those are the sort of players he's signed. Imagine what these players will be like in a year or two, I can only see them getting better."

After doing his first ambassadorial work last month, representing the club at a Premier League event in Bangalore, India, and meeting some of their growing international fanbase, Given will continue to keep a firm eye on Manchester City's progress both on and off the pitch, however there currently seems very little to stop the club from reaching its potential.

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