Football: 'Legend' Given retires from international football

Shay Given during the Stoke City vs West Ham United Barclays Premier League match at The Britannia Stadium on May 15.
Shay Given during the Stoke City vs West Ham United Barclays Premier League match at The Britannia Stadium on May 15.PHOTO: REUTERS

(AFP) - Shay Given earned the tribute "legend" from the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) after the goalkeeper announced his retirement from international football on Thursday (July 28) after a 20-year career.

The 40-year-old - capped 134 times - made his first appearance for his country against Russia in 1996 and played at the 2002 World Cup Finals, where they reached the last 16, and Euro 2012.

He announced after that disastrous campaign that he was retiring from international football, only to change his mind a few months later.

"It's every boy's dream to play football for his school, his local club, and maybe, in his wildest dreams, his country," Given, who was part of the Irish squad who reached the last 16 of Euro 2016, wrote on Twitter.

"I've been blessed that I was able to do this, from kickabouts in the back yard at home in County 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."

Stoke City 'keeper Given, who spent the majority of his club career at Newcastle United but also had stints at Aston Villa and Manchester City, had his career and service to his country neatly summed up by the FAI.

"11,121 minutes played. 134 caps. 52 clean sheets. 3 major tournaments. 1 Shay Given #legend," tweeted the FAI.