Shay Given has given his first extensive interview since his decision on Monday to end his international career.
The Aston Villa goalkeeper told RTÉ Radio that a World Cup qualifying campaign and the upcoming Premier League season under new boss Paul Lambert would be too much at this stage in his career.
He said on Sport at 7: “It wasn’t just a spur of the moment thing. I was thinking about it for two months and I just felt the timing was right. For me, my head says play forever but my body is telling me different things.
“It is important I am totally fit for the Premier League season and for Aston Villa. I felt it would be a big ask to go again for another campaign and to be playing in the Premier League week every week as well.
“Maybe it was a bit too much. I looked at other goalkeepers like Brad Friedel who retired from international duty at 35 and Edwin van der Saar retired at 36 and that prolonged their careers in the Premier League.
“It definitely helps if you are not travelling around the world when international weeks are on. If you can recuperate and get over little niggles and knocks it is going to be better for your club form I think.
“I’ll miss putting on the jersey. It was a huge honour and a privilege to play for Ireland. I was one of the lucky ones because I was a fan myself and used to go and up and support the team. To make my debut and pull the jersey on was an unbelievable feeling.
“It will be with me forever and the memories I have of playing with Ireland are very special ones. It was a huge honour to play for 16 years and it hard to believe when I say it because it is a long time.”
Given said that the Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni said he would support any choice the Lifford man made.
“I have great memories, one I will always cherish. I spoke to the manager yesterday, he was okay with it and I don’t know what his thoughts were. He just basically said it is my decision of course. I just felt it was the right thing to do.
“Speaking with the new manager Paul Lambert at Villa, we had a good long chat about things. I spoke with a few different people like Richard Dunne and bounced ideas off a few others and I just came to the conclusion that it was probably the best to leave now.
“There are very good goalkeepers there now, they’ll be fighting for the position and they’ll do the country proud as well.”