Stephen Ward: Burnley full-back ends Republic of Ireland career after 50 caps

Stephen Ward made his Republic of Ireland debut in 2011
Stephen Ward made his final Republic appearance against Wales last September

Republic of Ireland defender Stephen Ward has announced his retirement from international football.

The Burnley full-back, 33, won 50 senior caps and represented his country at both Euro 2012 and Euro 2016.

The Dubliner said that he had decided to end his international career "with a heavy heart".

"To represent my country has been a dream come true and the biggest honour I could have had," said Ward, who made his debut in 2011.

"To play in a couple of major championships has been the highlight and the night we beat Italy at the 2016 Euros will live with me for the rest of my life.

"I have been very proud to have played a part in those achievements and I feel this is a good time to move on.

"There are a lot of good young players and new talent coming through and I wish all of them, Mick [McCarthy] and the staff all the best for the future.

Republic boss McCarthy, who signed Ward during his spell as Wolves manager, said: "He has had 50 caps and he can retire being proud of that achievement. I'm really proud to have worked with him because he was a really good player for me and for Ireland."

Ward made headlines last September when a recording of him discussing details of an altercation between then Republic assistant manager Roy Keane and squad members Harry Arter and Jonathan Walters was made public.

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