ASTON VILLA GOALKEEPER Shay Given has spoken out after announcing his retirement yesterday evening, giving further reasons for the decision.
Speaking on RTE Radio 1′s Sport at 7 show, he revealed his decision was partially influenced by other Premier League footballers such as Edwin Van der Saar and Brad Friedel, who managed to prolong their careers at the top level of the game after retiring from international football.
Given explained that Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni was supportive of his decision and that he had sought advice from Richard Dunne among others about his future, before making the decision.
He said he felt “the time was right” to bring his career to a close and recalled some of the abiding memories of his time with Ireland.
On the infamous night when Ireland failed to progress to the 2010 World Cup Finals largely owing to the Thierry Henry handball incident in a playoff against France, he said:
“Looking back, I don’t think we’ll ever get over what happened in Paris that night. It was extremely frustrating.
“I was like Usain Bolt running to the referee. It was that blatant. I was just about to take the free kick.”
Given explained that he has since met Thierry Henry over coffee, as they are mutual friends with Patrick Vieira, and said:
“I never mentioned [the handball incident] to be honest. What can you say or what can he say?”
He spoke of other highlights during his career, including the nerves he felt amid his international debut in 1996.
“Paul McGrath was on one side of you and Roy Keane was on the other.
“It was a big turnout and all my family and friends were there.”
Meanwhile, he described the atmosphere in Landsdowne Road when Ireland beat Holland in the 2002 World Cup qualifier as the “best” he had ever experienced.
In addition, of the Euro 2012 debacles, he admitted: “It boiled down to us not being good enough.”
And despite having many to choose from, Given was reluctant to pick out one individual save as his best ever, though he did say his crucial stop during the 2002 World Cup qualifying playoff at home to Iran was among his most important interventions.
He added that Mick McCarthy texted him today to remind him of the moment: “He said: ‘Well done and thanks for making those saves [against Iran].’ It was very important to make those saves so we didn’t concede the away goal.”
The Donegal native thanked fans for their “overwhelming” support since the announcement and said: “It’s kind of gone full circle again – I’m going back to being a fan.”
And should an injury crisis arise, Given reiterated that he will be happy to offer his services.
“You’d have to answer the call,” he said. “You wouldn’t want to let your country down.”