Martin O’Neill salutes legend Shay Given

Ireland boss Martin O’Neill hailed Shay Given as one of Ireland’s greatest goalkeepers after the Stoke City star last night confirmed his exit from the international arena.

Martin O’Neill salutes legend Shay Given

Given, who was part of the Ireland squad for the European Championships in France this summer, will focus on his club career with Stoke after 134 appearances for the Boys in Green.

He had retired after Euro 2012 but came out of retirement two years later under Martin O’Neill.

Given, made the last of his 134 appearances for Ireland against Belarus at Turner’s Cross in May on the eve of Euro 2016.

The 40-year-old Donegal shot stopper’s decision was not unexpected, and the future of some of Ireland’s other veterans, including skipper Robbie Keane, remains to be confirmed ahead of the World Cup 2018 qualifying campaign.

Ireland manager Martin O’Neill said: “Shay was one of the best goalkeepers ever to don an Ireland shirt. I had the privilege of working with him these last few years.

“He came out of international retirement, worked his way back into the national team, and was doing brilliantly until suffering an unfortunate injury against Germany last October. Despite not playing in France at Euro 2016, he was still a very positive influence in the camp.

“His club record speaks for itself. Those players who played in front of him all bear testimony to his brilliance. He is one of the best goalkeepers to have played in the Premier League since its inception.”

In a statement on Twitter, Given said: “Thanks to all the Irish fans around the world. It’s every boy’s dream to play football for his school, his local club, and maybe, in his wildest dreams, his country. To try be as good at football as his father was before him and make his mother proud...

“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 the 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.”

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