Thursday 29 September 2016

Martin O'Neill and FAI pay tribute to 'magnificent servant' Shay Given

Published 28/07/2016 | 20:52

Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Shay Given has retired from international football
Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Shay Given has retired from international football

Following the announcement of his retirement from international football, the Football Association of Ireland has paid tribute to Shay Given.

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Considered by many to be one of the greatest players to represent the Republic of Ireland, Given earned 134 senior caps over two decades and was part of squads in three major international tournaments.

Hailing from Lifford, County Donegal, Given made his senior debut in March 1996 against Russia at Lansdowne Road. The agile goalkeeper went on to play in every calendar year until his retirement with the exception of 2013.

The starting Number 1 in both the 2002 FIFA World Cup and UEFA EURO 2012, Given clocked up an amazing 52 clean sheets - in games where he played more than 60 minutes - and registered 11,121 minutes played overall.

Given was twice named as the FAI Senior International Player of the Year (2005, 2006) and was part of the Ireland team that lifted the Nations Cup in 2011.

Ireland manager Martin O'Neill said: "There is no question that 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 UEFA 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."

FAI CEO John Delaney also paid tribute to Given by saying: "Shay has been a magnificent servant to Irish football and he has been a fixture in Ireland teams for two decades, experiencing some of the greatest moments for our national team.

"I would like to wish Shay the very best on his retirement and for the future as he continues on with his club. Shay will be welcome back to the Aviva Stadium any time."

Given, 40, will focus solely on his club football with Stoke City, where he is about to enter into his 22nd season as a professional footballer.

Starting off as a youth team player with Celtic, Given went on to play for Blackburn Rovers, Swindon Town, Sunderland, Newcastle United, Manchester City, Aston Villa, and Middlesbrough before joining Stoke in 2015.

Twice selected as part of the English PFA Team of the Year (2001/02, 2005/06), Given won the FA Cup in 2011, UEFA Intertoto Cup in 2006, and the English First Division in 1996.

Given became the second Ireland senior player to make 100 appearances when he lined out against Montenegro in October 2009. He wore the captain's armband six times and steps away as Ireland's most capped goalkeeper.

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