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Shay Given will save Aston Villa points this season - Alex McLeish

Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish believes Shay Given could save his side up to 20 points this season.

The Republic of Ireland international was in top form on his league debut for Villa as a string of fine saves at Craven Cottage secured a 0-0 draw against Fulham.

The 35-year-old sustained a groin injury against Martin Jol's side last Saturday but McLeish insists his summer signing is recovering well.

McLeish told The Birmingham Post: “He’s on the mend.

“We’re just going to let his groin settle down and he’ll be training Thursday.

“Shay knows his own body at the age of 35 and if he doesn’t know it now then he’ll never know it. That’s the measure of his experience.”

“His reading of the game is terrific. He’s still got the reaction times that sometimes a goalkeeper needs. It’s all about reactions.

“You see some goalkeepers trying to read it and diving the same way and things like that but Shay was absolutely spot on at the weekend.”

Despite highlighting his importance to the team, McLeish warned his side that they should not depend on the former Manchester City man on every occasion.

“I hope we don’t have to rely on Shay in every single game," he said.

“But certainly we know that great goalkeepers are worth their weight in gold in terms of extra points.

“Edwin Van der Sar for many years was a world class goalkeeper and that was because he helped his team win titles by saving them 15 to 20 points a season."