Given backs Robbie Keane to make impact at Aston Villa

Shay Given and Robbie Keane
Given and Keane are playing together at club level for the first time

Aston Villa goalkeeper Shay Given believes that his Republic of Ireland colleague Robbie Keane will help revitalise the club's season.

Loan signing Keane, 31, made his Villa debut as an 80th-minute substitute in the 1-1 draw at home to Everton.

"For sure, Robbie is champing at the bit to get starting a game," Given told BBC WM.

"I think he's shown to everyone in training how good a player he is and he looks very, very sharp."

Keane is only scheduled to be at Villa Park for six weeks as he builds up towards his second season with the LA Galaxy, but Given is convinced that will be long enough to leave a lasting impression.

"He's given the whole club a huge lift and he'll want to play a lot more to get fit for the MLS pre-season and the European Championships in the summer," Given added.

"It's credit to Robbie - he could've done six weeks on holiday, but he knows how big the summer is and how important he is to our cause for Ireland and it's great that he's here.

"Over the next six weeks I'm sure he'll get some important goals for us as well."

Given himself only returned at the weekend from a hamstring injury, displacing his understudy Brad Guzan to face Everton, and the 35-year-old is mindful that he needs to be in full form and fitness for this summer's major event.

"It's nice to be back playing first and foremost, and nice to make a few saves as well," he said.

"I'm not a very good patient and I thank the medical team here for getting me fit - it's on the pitch where you want to be."

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