Given quits international football

Given quitting Ireland after 16 years. Photo: PA

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 tonight 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 the 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."

Given made his name in the north-east during his 12-year stint with Newcastle but it was his on-loan performances for fierce rivals Sunderland and, prior to that, Swindon from Blackburn that caught the attentions of then Republic boss Mick McCarthy.

He had established himself as a regular for both club and country before 2002, where he played a key role as the Irish reached the second round of the World Cup in Japan and South Korea before being knocked out by Spain on penalties.

Given won his 100th cap in a World Cup qualifier against Montenegro in October 2009.

Trapattoni thanked Given for his efforts, telling the FAI website: "I understand the difficult decision that Shay had to make, and appreciate all of his efforts during his international career.

"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."

A fresh-faced Given on international duty in 1996. Credit: PA