Ireland had a nightmare European Championship, failing to pick up a single point; Aston Villa manager is confident that Irish contingent will be back to their best next seasonNew Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert has tipped Republic of Ireland duo Shay Given and Richard Dunne to bounce back from a disappointing Euro 2012 campaign.
Goalkeeper Given, 36, endured a difficult tournament in Poland, conceding nine goals in Ireland’s three Group C games. He was the subject of heavy criticism but Lambert has backed the experienced shot-stopper to put the summer's competition behind him.
“He’s had a brilliant career; he’s a really top keeper. It’s easy to criticise a goalkeeper when a ball goes into the net. Whether Shay Given played brilliantly in the Euros or he had the tournament he had wouldn't matter one jot to me,” said Lambert.
“Because when he comes back my main concern is what he does from now on in. What has happened you can’t change it, so I’m not interested in that.”
Given will return to pre-season training on Monday along with compatriot Dunne before heading on Villa’s 10-day tour of USA.
The former Norwich tactician is also expecting a response from defender Dunne, who also suffered a torrid time in Poland. The 32-year-old centre back has been troubled with shoulder problems recently but Lambert believes Dunne's experience will stand him in good stead when he returns to Premier League action.
“Shay and Richard are two experienced lads, they’re not kids and they've been round the course before,” Lambert told the club's official website.
“I spoke to the two of them earlier on in the Euros. It was a hard tournament for them with what happened. But they've done great for Villa in the past and had fantastic football careers let alone anything else. They've been over the course before and once I see them I’ll have another chat with them,” he concluded.
Aston Villa begin their Premier League season with a trip to newly-promoted West Ham United.