Aston Villa keeper Given faces competition for first-team place

The return of Brad Guzan means the Irish stopper's place in the starting line-up is under threat, with boss Paul Lambert stating that the keeper's jersey is up for grabs
New Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert has warned Shay Given he faces competition for the No.1 jersey from Brad Guzan as as they look set to bring the American back to the club.

Guzan was released at the end of last season after spending four years at Villa Park, mostly as a back-up to Shay Given and his compatriot Brad Friedel beforehand.

However, it appears the 27-year-old will agree to a new deal with the Midlands club, to compete with Given for the goalkeeper spot, with Lambert hinting that it would ultimately hinge on who performed best in pre-season.

"It's near. I know [Guzan] has always had that stigma of being the No.2 behind some really good goalkeepers," Lambert told reporters.

"But when you come back at the start of the season nobody knows what's going to happen and it depends on whoever does well."

The Irishman was in between the sticks for the majority of last season's campaign, making 34 appearances in all competitions while Guzan was loaned out to Championship side Hull City.

Guzan took Given's place while he was out injured, but the American soon returned to the bench after making only a handful of appearances.

Given suffered a torrid summer during the European Championship for the Republic of Ireland, conceding nine goals in their three group stage defeats.