Belfast Telegraph

Givet denies refusing to play for Rovers

Blackburn defender Gael Givet has dismissed any suggestion that he refused to play in Saturday's 3-0 Barclays Premier League defeat at Swansea.

The Frenchman was not even named on the bench for the game despite travelling with the squad, and Rovers boss Steve Kean later revealed he had asked him to play but said the 30-year-old was "not in the right frame of mind" to do so.

Givet, who has not featured for Rovers since his sending-off against Arsenal in February, has since issued a statement saying: "I wish to make it clear that I have never refused to play for Blackburn Rovers."

He continued: "It was just the manager Steve Kean who decided which players would be selected for the match at Swansea."

Kean - whose side are 19th in the table, three points from safety with four games to play - stopped short on Saturday of saying Givet had refused to play, but said: "It was apparent when I spoke to Gael this morning he wasn't anywhere near in the right frame of mind to play today, whether starting or on the bench.

"I will speak to him again, and if he is in a better frame of mind then great, but he was nowhere near in the right frame of mind today. I can't get inside somebody's head, I can only say how much we and his team-mates need him.

"If you look at (Rovers midfielder) David Dunn with his hamstring, he is having injections to play. We need guys who want to play even if they are injured or their heads are not quite right, but I would rather keep the conversation between myself and Gael private."

Meanwhile, former Rovers striker Simon Garner has become a non-executive director of the Blackburn Rovers Supporters Investment Trust, a group which is aiming to take over the club from current owners Venky's.

"I firmly believe the future of the club would be best served if the supporters were in control and guiding it forward," said Garner, quoted in the Lancashire Telegraph.

"Blackburn Rovers is still very close to my heart. I spent the majority of my football career at Ewood Park and I will always be a Rovers supporter. It would be great if other former players also joined up. I know when I was at Blackburn all the players had a special feeling for the club."

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