Shay Given retires from Republic of Ireland duty

 

Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Shay Given has announced his retirement from international football.

Given, 36, is the highest-capped player in Republic history having played 125 times for his country.

The Aston Villa man said that his decision to quit international football had been "extremely difficult".

"I have dedicated 16 years of my life to my country and I have a great affinity with Giovanni Trapattoni's squad," he added.

"I'd like to thank Giovanni, Marco (Tardelli) and Alan Kelly for their support during my time with the team.

Ireland's top cap holders

Shay Given: 125 caps from 1996-2012

Robbie Keane: 120 caps from 1998 to the present day

Kevin Kilbane: 110 caps from 1997 to the present day

Steve Staunton: 102 caps from 1988-2005

Damien Duff: 100 caps from 1998 to the present day

"I will continue to be Ireland's biggest fan and wish the lads well as they embark upon their new campaign."

Given made his international debut aged 19 in the 2-0 friendly defeat to Russia, and quickly established himself as the long-term replacement for Paddy Bonner.

After continuing to excel for club and country, he played every minute at the World Cup in 2002 but was unable to stop Ireland going out in the second round on penalties to Spain.

It would be another decade before he played tournament football again, with the end of the wait proving bittersweet as both he and his nation endured a difficult time at Euro 2012 as Ireland exited at the group stage after they lost all three games and conceded nine goals.

While he did confirm his international retirement, a Football Association of Ireland statement added that Given had indicated that he would be prepared to "make himself available" in any emergencies in the future.

The FAI statement added the Trapattoni had spoken "at length" with Given on Monday afternoon before the retirement was confirmed.

Trapattoni praised Given for his "outstanding contributions to Ireland during his 16-year international career".

"I understand the difficult decision that Shay had to make and appreciate all of his efforts during his international career," said the Republic manager.

"He is a strong player with a great character and his love of playing for his country always shone through.

"It has been a pleasure to work with him during my time with the team. I wish him the very best in his future."