‘I played for Newcastle – they’re down to the bare bones but have been immense’

Ex-Newcastle United goalkeeper Shay Given admits he has been impressed with the Magpies recent form which he has described as "immense".

The former Republic of Ireland international played at St. James' Park for over a decade between 1997 to 2008, a run which saw him turnout for Newcastle the last time they were back in the Champions League under Sir Bobby Robson. Nowadays, Given can be found milling around media circles working as a pundit for the likes of Sky Sports, Amazon Prime and TNT Sports amongst others.

The 2023/24 season has seen Newcastle having to deal with a massive injury crisis, with Jacob Murphy, Callum Wilson, Dan Burn, Elliot Anderson, Sven Botman, Harvey Barnes, Joe Willock, Matt Targett and now Nick Pope all sidelined for prolonged periods, putting stress upon the depth of Eddie Howe's squad.

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But while the Magpies are battling to keep players fit, results on the pitch have not yet been impacted, with Newcastle having beaten Chelsea 4-1, drawn away to Paris Saint Germain in the Champions League 1-1 and defeated Manchester United 1-0 in their last three games, something which Given believes has been "immensely" impressive.

"The results they've been having have been immense the past week to 10 days, whatever it's been," Given told Daily Star Sport. "They're down to the bare bones when it comes to injuries as well.

"Just when you think is this one injury too many – I've covered their last three games for different channels, the Chelsea game, they had loads of kids and three keepers on the bench, and I thought it'll probably be a bad result against Chelsea and they went and beat them 4-1 in a convincing victory.

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"Then away in the Champions League against Paris, I think even a neutral fan would think they were hard done by with that penalty. It was never a penalty in my eyes in a million years, so it was a cruel blow.

"You think, can they psychologically come back from that against Manchester United and they did. I know it was only 1-0 but it could have been a lot more. They had lots of chances, especially in the first half. They're playing so well at the moment. The only issue from the weekend was losing Nick Pope. That's a big loss."

Thursday night sees Newcastle travel to Goodison Park to take on Everton in a game Given will be covering for Amazon Prime's Premier League coverage.

Prime Video is available as part of the Amazon Prime membership, which costs £8.99 per month or £95 annually for an individual.

The membership gives access to all the perks of Amazon Prime (including free Premium and Same- Day Delivery in selected residential postcodes, and other benefits) plus the full library of content available through Prime Video.

Prime also offers a discounted membership, Prime Student for higher education students.

You can also sign-up for Prime Video on its own for £5.99 per month, however, you won’t get the other benefits that come with Prime — like free One-Day Delivery and Same-Day Delivery on eligible orders and fast grocery delivery and pickup.

£5.99 per month for Prime Video only, or £8.99 per month for Amazon Prime membership

And despite the "relentless" slate of fixtures the Magpies are currently dealing with to go alongside their massive injury list, Given reckons Howe will be doing everything he can to ensure his players are 'wrapped up in cotton wool' ahead of the festive period.

Given added: "You've got so many games haven't you, it's every two or three days, it's Premier League, then it's Champions League, and then in January, the FA Cup starts. It's relentless."

"But again, Eddie's [Howe] got the balance right with the players he has fit at the moment. They managed to wrap them up in cotton wool between the games and sport science will be playing a huge role behind the scenes as well to get everyone ready for Thursday night against Everton which will be a tough game at Goodison."

Shay Given will be working as a pundit for Prime Video’s coverage of Everton vs Newcastle on 7th December. Prime Video is broadcasting 20 Premier League fixtures this season, including a full round of fixtures in December, featuring matches such as Luton vs Arsenal, Manchester United vs Chelsea and Aston Villa vs Manchester City – plus every Boxing Day match.

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