However he took full advantage of his close friend's injury woes last term to get in 19 top-flight starts - one more than he managed after briefly ousting Given as number one during the 1999-2000 campaign.
He said: "Looking at my time here, it seems a long time since 1999-2000, and even though I managed more league and cup matches that season, this has been my best in the Premier League and obviously I am delighted at that.
"All I have ever said was that I wanted to play week in, week out.
"In the last 18 months, I have played the best part of 45 games. It's all I ever wanted to do.
"There were two or three years when people forget about you. You are out of sight, and out of mind.
"People weren't willing to take a chance on me as I hadn't played sufficient games.
"But I have never shouted my mouth off, I just said I wanted to play week in, week out and in the last 18 months, I have really enjoyed doing that - and long may it continue.
"I was told a few offers were made for me and you get whispers of things.
"If you had asked me 18 months ago, I might have been full of regrets, but the last 18 months have shown it was a good decision."