12 goals in two games shows it's time for my old mate Shay to take back the gloves at Villa
21:05 GMT, 28 December 2012
Aston Villa conceded 12 goals in two games over Christmas.
It’s time for Paul Lambert to play Shay Given.
Shay Given should be Villa’s No 1, and he should come back to play for the Republic of Ireland and fight Keiren Westwood for the right to play for his country again.
It has been a difficult 2012 for my old Ireland team-mate who struggled with injuries, and by his own admission didn’t match his own high standards in the Euro 2012 finals, probably because he wasn’t fully fit.
Time for a change: Kevin Kilbane (left) thinks it's time for his old Republic of Ireland team-mate Shay Given (centre) to return to action for Aston Villa
He then gave up playing for Ireland, with the backing of new manager Paul Lambert, to concentrate on his Villa career, only to lose his place to Brad Guzan.
Shay is fully fit now, and still hungry to play.
Brad Guzan is not in his league as a keeper and it is time the Villa boss realised it and brought Shay’s brilliance, determination and experience back to his team.
He needs him.
Number two: Villa boss Paul Lambert (right) has preferred Brad Guzan this season, with Given only making two appearances in the Premier League
Lambert did a good job at Norwich City and he deserved the chance to make a step up in his career and manage a bigger club with a history like Villa’s.
But it was always going to be difficult taking over a squad which has been constructed by three managers in a short space of time.
Kilbane would also like to see Given make a return to the national side
He has turned to youth and Shay is not the only experienced player who is out of the team.
Darren Bent, Stephen Warnock and Alan Hutton are all out of favour and I can’t help thinking there must be an agenda.
They are all high earners and can presumably leave the club.
But the horrific 8-0 defeat at Chelsea, which could easily have been 11 or 12, exposed the lack of experience in the Villa team.
It is easy for younger players when things are going well and they are winning and playing with confidence.
Lambert, and his young players, need help from lads who have been there before and can take defeats and setbacks.
After a 4-0 defeat like the one suffered at home to Tottenham just days later, older players would normally go round and speak to the younger players on a personal level and try to help them cope.
Realistically no manager can talk to a player on a personal level in the dressing room straight after a game and he needs the old-heads to deal with any issues.
That’s hard when the team is so young. Who can they turn to That’s where a man like Shay Given comes into his own.
He performed brilliantly for Ireland for more than a decade and earned his 100 caps with world class performances.
We lost count of the number of crucial saves or moments of magic he pulled off to keep us in games, and win them like he did against Iran to get us to the World Cup.
Added to that he was an important character in the dressing room. He had 50 caps by his mid-20s and over time found his voice which comes with experience and respect for the things he did between the sticks.
New blood: Sunderland's Kieren Westwood is the current Republic of Ireland no. 1 but hasn't made a league appearance this season
Now I have heard Shay babbling some awful rubbish in dressing rooms and team meetings over the years, but you always listen to him.
And when he shouts during a game, he sort of screeches – it’s the most ear-splitting noise you will hear – but if you hear it, it doesn’t half make you alert.
It’s no coincidence that Aston Villa have had a good run in the Capital One Cup and reached the semi-finals.
Shay has played and it’s time Paul Lambert got his best keeper back in the side and used his experience in the Barclays Premier League.
He has been one of the best the world’s toughest league has seen, and he can reach those heights again.
Which is why he should also come back into the Ireland squad. He has actually played more games than Keiren Westwood who has been unfortunate to lose his place to Simon Mignolet at Sunderland but is realistically not going to oust the impressive Belgian unless he gets injured.
And a lack of experience behind him means Martin O’Neill is unlikely to let the new Ireland number go.
Experience: Kilbane (top row, third from left) and Given (bottom row, right) each earned more than 100 caps at international level
He has played more games for Ireland than Sunderland this season and that has to be a concern with the vital qualifiers against Austria and Sweden coming up in March.
Keiren might not like the idea, but competition from a keeper like Shay could only help him while he is not playing.
Even if Shay is not playing regularly by then, Giovanni Trapattoni should consider recalling him, just to have him around at an important time.
It comes down to experience again. And it’s time Shay’s was put to proper use for club and country.
The future looks grim…
If I was a Liverpool fan I would be very worried about the future of Luis Suarez.
Without him at Stoke City the other night, Liverpool had virtually nothing.
I don’t know if Daniel Sturridge is the answer, but I’ve always liked him and he can certainly help ease the burden on Suarez who worked himself into the ground at the Britannia Stadium.
Worry: Kilbane would be worried about losing Luis Suarez (front) if he was a Liverpool fan
But there were just signs that he was getting frustrated with the limitations of the individuals who are supposed to be helping him and creating chances, and perhaps with Liverpool’s standing in the Premier League at the moment.
He is a world class striker in a pretty average team and if a Champions League team from anywhere in Europe comes in with a silly bid, Liverpool might still have the power to turn it down, but you wonder if Suarez’s head would be turned by any interest.
Brendan Rodgers claimed before Christmas his team were still in Champions League contention but on Wednesday’s evidence they are a long way off.
Sadly Suarez looks like he is starting to realise his only chance of immediate Champions League action might be away from Anfield.
The Good and The Bad
I don’t think I have seen work-rate like Jon’s against Liverpool. He did everything at a sprint and mad life hell for the Liverpool defenders.
He got two great goals and his interaction with Kenwyne Jones was outstanding.
He’s the same with Peter Crouch and has a reading of their knockdowns and flick-ons which reminds me of Kevin Phillips and Niall Quinn at Sunderland.
All good news for Ireland.
Form: Jon Walters' form can only be a good thing for his country – the Stoke striker scored two against Liverpool on Boxing Day
I said on BBC Radio 5 live at Stoke that I felt they dominated Liverpool and deserved their win.
Then I was reliably informed on Twitter that the stats showed Liverpool had something like 60 per cent possession compared to Stoke’s 40.
That’s all very well but unless you’re going to create any chances, stats are a waste of time.