DAVE ARMITAGE: What do back-up keepers like Begovic think? What price on actually playing?

Given is a back-up keeper at Stoke – a man who is paid massive amounts of money to keep himself fit and ready for the day he MAY be called upon.

What a cushy number that is, yet in Given, Stoke boss Mark Hughes must be massively relieved that he’s got a man with such experience providing cover. It is a weird kind of job.

I don’t have a problem with Given – he’s played for Republic of Ireland 134 times and clocked up around 500 appearances in a successful career which has seen him spend most of his time right in the thick of things.

It makes me wonder what former Stoke No.1 Asmir Begovic must be thinking as he warms the bench – and his bank balance – in semi-retirement at Chelsea.

Now, let’s get this straight, Begovic is without doubt one of the nicest guys in the game. He’s intelligent, courteous, polite and a genuine thinker.

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