Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Shay Given is retiring from international soccer after winning a record 125 caps for his country, he said on Monday.
“After a lot of thought and consideration, I have made the most difficult decision to retire from international football,” the Aston Villa player said on his personal Twitter account.
“It’s been a great honour and privilege to play, and on occasion captain the team,” the 36-year-old added. “I wish to thank all the players, managers, staff and most importantly the most wonderful fans in the world.”
The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) confirmed Given’s decision on its Web site, explaining that Given had informed Republic of Ireland coach Giovanni Trapattoni of his decision.
The Italian paid tribute to the former Newcastle United and Manchester City player’s 16-year international career.
“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.”
Given made his international debut under coach Mick McCarthy in 1996 against Russia and quickly established himself as the first-choice goalkeeper.
He played in all his country’s games at the 2002 World Cup, when the Republic of Ireland progressed from a tough group, before losing to Spain in the first knockout round.
Given’s other major tournament appearance was at Euro 2012 as part of a side that lost all three group games.
Trapattoni, keen to try out younger players as he looks toward the 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign, did not pick Given for this week’s friendly against Serbia.
According to the Web site, Given has informed the FAI that he would “happily return to -assist with goalkeeping duties” should there ever be any squad emergency.
Sunderland’s Keiren Westwood, who has 10 international appearances to his name, is widely expected to be Given’s successor as the Republic of Ireland’s No. 1.