Gunnar Nielsen, directing the City defense after Given’s injury
The first Faroe Island representation of the Premiership since its inception.
Gunnar Nielsen at 23 years of age and the third string goalkeeper for both City and the Faroe Island national team came on for Shay Given in the 76th minute after the ROI goalkeeper was stretchered off with what is now diagnosed as a dislocation of the left shoulder. Given showed lightning reflexes in saving Abou Diaby’s piledriver but landed awkwardly on his shoulder and was immediately in deep trouble.
With Stuart Taylor still a week away from training and Joe Hart on loan at Birmingham, City’s remaining season now lies in the hands of a goalkeeper picked up by Mark Hughes on a free transfer in February 2009. Their association dates back to July 2007 when Nielsen, a Faroe Island U-21 was brought to Blackburn from Danish club BK Frem. for a nominal fee. After completing loan spells at Motherwell and Wrexham, Nielsen was brought back to Eastlands at the start of the season.
Nielsen has seen two international caps. He made his debut in the friendly against Iceland on 22 March 2009, which the Faroe Islands won, 2-1 for their first win against Iceland.
A squad with a £400 million price tag relying on a goalkeeper on a free transfer to challenge for a fourth place finish! Delicious irony. Just a day ago, Mancini was reportedly preparing a £50 million offer for the services of Fernando Torres.
With an injury prone Stuart Taylor as the back up and the huge setback to Given, those ambitions should get pegged back. Birmingham and a number of other clubs, including Arsenal might be preparing a bid for Joe Hart. City has a future goalkeeping crisis on their hands. And Mancini’s predilection for three holding midfielders showed up against Man Utd and Arsenal, leaving very little creative leverage in the game. It would be smart to shift priorities.