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Dublin: 3 °C Thursday 17 January, 2019

'One of the best goalkeepers ever to don an Ireland shirt' - O'Neill hails retiring Given

The Ireland manager has been speaking about the former number one after he announced the end of his Ireland career.

Given on his last appearance for Ireland -- against Belarus at Turner's Cross in May.
Given on his last appearance for Ireland -- against Belarus at Turner's Cross in May.
Image: Brian Lawless

IRELAND BOSS MARTIN O’Neill has paid tribute to Shay Given after the 40-year-old announced his international retirement.

Having originally hung up his Ireland gloves after Euro 2012, the veteran stopper made himself available again and rejoined the set-up under O’Neill in 2014.

On Thursday evening, however, Given released a statement via Twitter to thank fans for their support over the past 20-plus years, saying that he was now going to concentrate on the final stages of his club career with Stoke City.

Responding to the news, Ireland’s current boss spoke highly of the Donegal man.

“There is no question that Shay was one of the best goalkeepers ever to don an Ireland shirt,” said O’Neill. “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 chief executive John Delaney added: “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.”

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Ben Blake

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