Given announces international retirement

PA Sport

Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Shay Given has announced his retirement from international football after over 16 years of service.

Given made his debut for his country on March 27, 1996 against Russia and went on to represent the Republic a record 125 times before deciding to hang up his gloves.

A statement on the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) official twitter feed said: "Shay Given has just announced his international retirement."

The Aston Villa number one was omitted from Giovanni Trapattoni's squad for the friendly against Serbia on Wednesday, with the Italian looking to blood youngsters following their disappointing Euro 2012 campaign.

Given was an ever-present in Poland and Ukraine as the Republic lost all three of their group games to Croatia and finalists Spain and Italy.

But with a World Cup qualifying campaign that opens with a trip to Kazakhstan just around the corner, the 36-year-old has opted to stand aside.

The former Newcastle and Manchester City keeper told the FAI's official website: "This has been an extremely difficult decision for me to make.

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

"I'd like to thank Giovanni, (assistant) Marco (Tardelli) and Alan Kelly for their support during my time with the team. I will continue to be Ireland's biggest fan, and wish the lads well as they embark upon their new campaign."

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