Given: West Ham opener will be a baptism of fire for Aston Villa's new signings

The former Republic of Ireland international goalkeeper believes that Sam Allardyce's direct style of play will present a stern challenge to the club's arrivals from abroad
Aston Villa goalkeeper Shay Given has warned his new team-mates to expect a "baptism of fire" when they face newly-promoted West Ham at Upton Park on Saturday.

Hammers manager Sam Allardyce has a reputation for building physically intimidating teams renowned for their direct tactics, something Given is familiar with having played under the 57-year-old during their time together at Newcastle United.

The former Republic of Ireland goalkeeper recognised that the challenges they are likely to face would be testing for Villa's new arrivals from abroad.
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"I know what is coming," Given told reporters. "Because I have played against teams of Sam Allardyce before and even played for him. He is quite direct how he plays."

The 36-year-old issued a warning to former Eredivisie players Ron Vlaar, Karim El Ahmadi and Brett Holman, who he admitted could be in for a culture shock should they make their debuts against Allardyce's team.

"Some of our new signings haven't played in the Premier League and, coming from Holland, it is going to be a bit of a baptism of fire," he acknowledged.

"We must be on top of our game as we're going to a right den."