Thursday 14 December 2017

Richard Dunne on his international retirement: 'I wanted to play for Ireland forever but it's the right time to go'

Ger Keville

Ger Keville

He never gave less than 100 per cent on the pitch for Ireland so when Richard Dunne felt that his legs could not match his heart anymore, there was only going to be one outcome.

After dislocating his shoulder three months before Euro 2012 and not getting into his full international stride thereafter, Dunne knew his time was up.

Only one obstacle was in his way – admitting to himself that his glorious international career was up.

“The hardest thing is admitting it to yourself, really, you want to try and carry on and play forever, but, for me, I just felt the time was right now,” said Dunne today speaking ahead of QPR’s friendly with Shamrock Rovers in Tallaght tomorrow.

“I think it was the start of the new campaign, it was something that I probably couldn’t commit another two years to,” added Dunne.

 “I’d be letting myself down if I decided in six months’ time that I didn’t fancy it anymore. Before the campaign starts it’s the right time.”

Dunne admitted that he spoke to captain and good friend Robbie Keane before making his decision and feels the striker will continue with the international team.

“Me and Robbie have been room-mates for the last 10-12 years. He understood my reasons and the decision that I took.

“Robbie’s a year younger than me and still scoring goals and doing everything right so he’ll continue I’m sure.”

And manager Martin O’Neill was also kept in the loop and he wished Dunne all the best.

 “He just asked had I made my decision and just said ‘fair play to you, you’ve done great, keep in touch’ sort of thing. l get on really well with Martin, so it was a nice conversation and he wished me well. It was good.

 “The whole experience has been a highlight, there’s not too many down points in it. I’ve enjoyed all the games, all the experiences.

“The one thing that keeps Ireland going and keeps us competitive, is the team spirit, as much as anything else. You go through many players and teams throughout your career, but the squads that I’ve been in with Ireland, there’s been three or four, the atmosphere is always the same, there’s always togetherness. It’s been a joy to be a part of.”

QPR manager Harry Redknapp had high praise for Dunne and suggested that his decision is the right one as he will need extra rest to cope with the high demands of the Premier League.

“He did play a massive part last year in getting us promoted,” said Redknapp.

“The day Richard walked into the club, I said it at the time, I slept easier. I knew I was getting a fantastic player, a centre half, and a great guy as well.

“All through the season and especially the big massive games at the end of the season, the play-off game with Wigan at home when he was incredible, and the final when for he was man of the match. He was absolutely unbelievable.

“I think he needs the break. The Premier League’s another step up. Those (international) breaks during the season are going to be important for him to recover.

“I bought two top centre halves to go alongside the ones that I’ve got, and no disrespect to Richard or anybody – Clint (Hill), Richard and Rio – they’re not young ’uns. You need a squad so I’ve got five fantastic centre halves, I’m looking to probably play three at the back and he’s a big part of the team for me.”

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