Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Shay Given has announced his international retirement.
Given, who earned 134 caps for his country, wishes to focus more on his domestic duties with Stoke City.
He appeared for the Irish at the 2002 World Cup, Eur0 2012, and was also selected for Euro 2016, although he didn’t feature.
He is one of only 355 male footballers, along with 225 female, currently in FIFA’s Century Club, for players with 100 caps or more.
Given retired from international football once before, in 2012. He returned in 2013, and this May became the first Irishman to play for his country for twenty years or more. He is second on Ireland’s appearances list, behind only Robbie Keane.
Given announced his retirement via a letter to fans on Twitter.
“It’s every boy’s dream to play football for his school, his local club, and maybe, in his wildest dreams, his country,” he wrote.
“To try be as good at football as his father was before him and make his mother proud.
“I’ve been blessed that I was able to do this, from kickabouts in the back yard at home in Co Donegal with my brothers, to playing for St Colomba’s Collage Stranorlar, Lifford Celtic and then to making my debut with the Republic of Ireland aged 18.
“I’m one of the very lucky ones who got to wear the jersey for his country and wore the badge with pride 134 times. But now it’s time to hang up the gloves and move from the onion bag to the terraces, where I’ll be shouting the lads on as one of Ireland’s biggest fans.
“So as I retire from Ireland duty to focus on my club career, I want to say a HUGE thanks to everyone who supported me all the way — my close family, friends and amazing fans.
“Couldn’t have done it without you, and all my great team-mates, managers and friends at the FAI.
“Go raibh maith agat.”
The former Blackburn Rovers, Newcastle United, Manchester City and Aston Villa stopper will complete with Jack Butland and Jakob Hauggard for the number one jersey at the Britannia Stadium next season.
By Steve Osborne @BlizzardSteve75