Shay Given faces battle to dislodge Jakob Haugaard

Shay Given’s Euro 2016 hopes suffered a blow after Mark Hughes praised the performance of Jakob Haugaard in Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Swansea.

The 23-year-old Dane could now replace injured English stopper Jack Butland for the rest of the campaign, leaving Given short of match action as he pushes for a place in Martin O’Neill’s squad.

“I have worked with Shay for a long-time. He’s an outstanding keeper but he hasn’t had a lot of work with the senior squad,” said Hughes.

“It is only the last couple of weeks he has been up to full speed which would have been a bit of a risk and he probably needs a couple of games just to get him to the level he needs to be. I was really pleased with his (Haugaard’s) performance. He is a confident young man, didn’t have a chance with the goals unfortunately, but every other aspect of his play was excellent.”

Hughes also reported that Glenn Whelan was suffering with a back problem.

“On Friday he had a spasm in his back and it was touch and go whether he started. He did, but obviously he couldn’t complete the 90 minutes and we were trying to get him off when the (Swansea’s 2nd) goal was conceded.”

An Ibrahim Afellay header and Bojan Krkic’s 53rd minute strike put Stoke 2-0 up, but Gylfi Sigurdsson and Alberto Paloschi earned Swansea a point.

West Ham also drew 2-2 and Slaven Bilic cut a frustrated figure after his 10 men were pegged back by Dwight Gayle’s equaliser to dent their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League.

The West Ham boss said Kouyate’s challenge on Palace substitute Dwight Gayle was not even worthy of a yellow card. “Make no mistake, I am very disappointed. This is the fourth time that this has happened. But we will go on fighting until the end of the season.”

The Hammers looked set to stay a point behind fourth-placed Manchester City after Manuel Lanzini cancelled out Damien Delaney’s early header before a stunning Dimitri Payet free-kick put the hosts ahead. But Gayle struck when Angelo Ogbonna and Winston Reid failed to deal with Pape Souare’s cross to cost them two vital points.

Sam Allardyce has admitted he may need to seek divine intervention after seeing Sunderland pass up the opportunity to ease their relegation fears. The Black Cats did everything but score as they were held to a scoreless draw by West Brom.

“I think I need to go back to church and start praying or something like that. I’m not quite sure what I need to do because I can’t ever imagine in my long career dominating a game for so long, creating so many chances, and not actually winning it.”


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