Shay Given lifts lid on frosty relationship with Roberto Mancini at Man City

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“He fell out with everyone. And when I say everyone, I mean everyone. The players, the backup staff, the physios, the kit man, the press officers, the canteen workers, the car park lads, the lot.”

Shay Given had a very strained relationship with Roberto Mancini during his time at Manchester City. The Irish goalkeeper did not see eye-to-eye with the Italian coach and admitted that he was ready to throw a party when he left the club. Given revealed in his autobiography Any Given Saturday that Mancini was difficult to work with and argued with everyone at Man City.

Shay Give: Roberto Mancini fell out with everyone at Man City.

“For the love of me, I couldn’t work Mancini out. We heard that when he was sacked by Inter Milan in 2008, the entire squad had a massive night out to celebrate,” Given wrote.

“By the time I left Manchester City in 2011, I was ready to throw a party myself. Surely, the first and most important job a manager has is to get the most out of those around him.

“Whether you rate a player or not, if he’s on your books then surely you want the best for him, you want the best from him and you want your entire club to move forward. Otherwise, why bother wasting everybody’s time even being there?

“Roberto Mancini saw the world differently to Shay Given, that’s for sure. He fell out with everyone. And when I say everyone, I mean everyone.

“The players, the backup staff, the physios, the kit man, the press officers, the canteen workers, the car park lads, the lot.

Shay Given: Roberto Mancini would start arguments at training every day.

“He probably even swung a punch or two at his own reflection for looking at him funny. Every single morning, he’d sit on an exercise bike and the physio would come to him to report what condition the squad was in.

“That was the start of World War Three every day. The physios would deliver a standard list of who was and wasn’t fit and he would erupt in anger, accusing them of shielding fit players or not working hard enough to get injured players back.

“Tell me, how does that get the best out of people?

“Life is not meant to be that difficult. The maddest thing was, after causing chaos with everybody in the week, I’d then go off to St Pius X Church in Alderly Edge on a Sunday morning and he’d be in there, as devout a Roman Catholic as could be.”

Given remarked how Mancini made no attempt to convince him to remain at the club when he requested to leave. The Irish shot-stopper had fallen out of favour at the club and Joe Hart had established himself as the first-choice goalkeeper.

Roberto Mancini didn’t try convince Shay Given to stay at Man City.

“As the 2010/11 season went on, and my arse rubbed the subs bench shiny, there was talk that I was too big a personality in the dressing room, too quick to say what I believed and what I thought and that Mancini didn’t want that presence around,” he wrote.

“I picked up whispers here and there that this was why he wanted me out. I don’t know, I don’t suppose I’ll ever know and to be honest, I’m not that arsed now. Back then though, I certainly was.

The Italian manager preferred Joe Hart to Given.

“I went to see Mancini a few times about his plans for me.

“Ideally, he wanted Joe (Hart) in goal and me on the bench because he wanted to avoid the emergency loan situation from the year before but I was too old to be sitting on a bench and to still young enough to still be a No. 1 somewhere else.

“In his office, I made it clear I wanted to go and it didn’t bother him. ‘You can go,’ he said, sat behind his desk, cup of coffee on the side. ‘You can leave. It’s no problem.’

“He was that black and white. I wasn’t calling his bluff but he never even attempted to make me stay.

“If he’d said, ‘Shay, Joe is in now but you’ll get the cup games and keep pushing him hard’ then I might’ve been tempted into sticking around but there was none of that.”

Given is now a coach with Derby under Wayne Rooney.

Given played 134 times for the Republic of Ireland and is one of their best players of the modern era. He joined Aston Villa after leaving Manchester City and played for Middlesbrough and Stoke before retiring.

Given is currently a first-team coach with Derby County and is working under Manchester United legend Wayne Rooney.


(Originally published on May 30, 2021).

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