Shay Given announces retirement from international football

Ireland's most capped player Shay Given has announced his immediate retirement from international football
Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Shay Given has announced his retirement from international football, after winning 125 caps over 16 years.

Having been left out of Giovanni Trapattoni's squad to face Serbia, 36-year-old Given decided to call time on his international career, informing fans on twitter of his retirement. “After a lot of thought and consideration, I have made the most difficult decision to retire from international football," Given said. "It’s been a great honour and privilege to play and on occasion captain the team. I shall remain a huge fan of the team as I have been all my life and I wish them every success for the future.

“I wish to thank all the players, managers, staff, and most importantly the most wonderful fans in the world. Finally I would like to thank my wife Jane, my 2 amazing kids and my entire family for their unwavering support over the 16 years & 125 caps.”

A 19-year-old Given made his Ireland debut in 1996 while on the books of Blackburn Rovers, starting against Russia in Mick McCarthy's first game in charge. The Boys in Green lost 2-0, but Given stood out with an assured performance between the sticks.

Since then, the Donegal-born shot-stopper has been a mainstay as Ireland's number one, playing 125 times under McCarthy, Brian Kerr, Steve Staunton, and Giovanni Trapattoni, and was first choice at the 2002 World Cup and Euro 2012.

In March 2007, Given equalled Packie Bonner's record of 80 caps for Ireland, and made his 100th international appearance against Montenegro at Croke Park in 2009. His last appearance for the Boys in Green came at Euro 2012, but now Given will focus on his club career with Aston Villa.

Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni spoke to Given today about his retirement, and spoke of his admiration for the 36-year-old. "I understand the difficult decision that Shay had to make, and appreciate all of his efforts during his international career," Trapattoni said. "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. "