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Monday, 20 May, 2002, 07:56 GMT 08:56 UK
Given's form promise
Ireland and Newcastle keeper Shay Given
Given's best days are ahead of him
Newcastle keeper Shay Given has reassured fans that his best form is still to come.

Given signed a new deal with the Magpies on Thursday that will keep him at St James' Park for the next five years.

The past campaign was arguably Given's best since arriving at Newcastle from Blackburn Rovers in 1997.


Hopefully we can keep progressing and win something in the next couple of years
Shay Given

He was voted the best at his position by his fellow players as he helped the Geordie side to fourth in the Premiership and a place in the qualifying stages of next season's Champions League.

But the Republic of Ireland international has vowed to carry on improving.

"I turned 26 last month which in goalkeeping terms is still quite young when you look at David Seaman at 38 and Nigel Martyn who is 36," he said.

"I still have a lot to do but hopefully I can keep improving and get better and better.

"I feel I am going in the right direction and last season went exceptionally well.

"Being picked in the PFA team of the year by my fellow professionals was a big honour for me.

"Each year I have tended to improve so hopefully I will be better next year."

Newcastle stopper Shay Given
Given is going to the World Cup finals with Ireland

Given is part of the Irish side that is currently preparing for the World Cup finals on the Western Pacific island of Saipan.

And he said that he will be keeping a close eye on some of his goalkeeping rivals for tips on how he can make himself a better player.

"I try to watch the best goalkeepers and learn from them, such as Fabien Barthez and his kicking or how Seaman never seems to be ruffled," he added.

Given has pleaded for Newcastle boss Bobby Robson to carry on spending as Newcastle try and compete with the big three in the Premiership.

"We proved last season that our squad wasn't strong enough because we were at the top for a while but then couldn't maintain it when we got a few injuries and suspensions," he said.

Trophy aim

"You look at Arsenal and they have got top class internationals who can come in and fill different positions. They have strength in depth and we need to strengthen our squad.

"Hopefully we can sign a few players in the summer and then qualify for the Champions League.

"When our gaffer took over we were heading for the first division, but he has done wonderfully well.

"Hopefully we can keep progressing and win something in the next couple of years."

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16 May 02 | Newcastle United
16 May 02 | England
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