Given vs Ruddy vs Guzan
The keeper speculation just keeps on coming, and today saw a number of interesting stories emerge concerning the number one position at Villa Park. We’ve discussed Given a lot on here, and it really is a debate that seems to split us Villa fans. He had a poor European Championships, but he didn’t look completely fit and this has only served to heighten the speculation regarding his Villa future. We’ve now been linked to Norwich and England keeper John Ruddy, and of course this is an easy link to make. Here is a couple of sentences from the Mail report:
‘The Canaries are considering a swoop for the highly-rated teenager (Jack Butland) after it emerged that former boss Paul Lambert was attempting to lure current No 1 John Ruddy to Aston Villa. Butland is third-choice in England’s Euro 2012 squad having been called up later following an injury, ironically, to Ruddy.
Ruddy, meanwhile, would replace Shay Given as Villa’s No 1. The 36-year-old Republic of Ireland great has suffered with injuries and loss of form in recent seasons.’
In another report linking us to Ruddy, this time in the Mirror there was also an interesting point regarding Guzan, namely that we’ve offered him a new deal:
‘They have offered a new deal to his back-up Brad Guzan, but could still go for Ruddy.’
As I’ve written previously I’d have no problem with Given continuing as our number one next season and I’m sure he’d do a good enough job. If he continues to struggle then maybe we could look at him, but I don’t think we need to make any knee-jerk decisions based on a poor Euros. He has his faults, as do all keepers but with QPR having just signed Rob Green, I’m not even sure there are many potential suitors for the player, especially with the wages he’s on.
I like Guzan a lot, but even if the report is true and he has been offered a new deal I just can’t see him coming back. He deserves to be a number one somewhere, and it would be a bit of a surprise if it were to be at Villa, even if he has performed well when given a chance with us. I can’t see him coming in to sit back on the bench, and I can’t see Lambert making him first choice. Hopefully he gets a chance at a Championship club, and gets to start week in and week out.
I know Ruddy was extremely highly praised last season, and at 25 years old he is still young. He made the original England squad for the Euros, before having to pull out through injury. Looking at the records for each keeper last season I was a little bit surprised to see how many Ruddy had conceded, and here are the games played and goals conceded (in the league) for the three keepers mentioned in this article:
Given: 31 games, 45 goals conceded.
Ruddy: 37 games, 63 goals conceded.
Guzan: 7 games, 8 goals conceded.
What do you all think? Any of these three you’d like to see as our number one next season? Any other name? Personally and as I keep saying I’d be happy to keep Given, and use any transfer budget to spend on areas of more pressing need, but that’s just me. How about you lovely people?