Ward calls time on Ireland career

Republic of Ireland defender Stephen Ward has announced his retirement from international football.

The 33-year-old Burnley full-back, who was omitted from Mick McCarthy’s 23-man squad for this month’s European qualifiers against Gibraltar and Georgia, has called it a day after winning 50 senior caps and representing his country at both Euro 2012 and Euro 2016.

“It’s with a heavy heart that I have decided to retire from international football,” said Ward.

“To represent my country has been a dream come true and the biggest honour I could have had.

“To play in a couple of major championships has been the highlight and the night we beat Italy at the 2016 Euros will live with me for the rest of my life.

“I have been very proud to have played a part in those achievements and I feel this is a good time to move on.

“There are a lot of good young players and new talent coming through and I wish all of them, Mick and the staff all the best for the future.

“I’d like to thank everyone – managers, players, backroom staff – I’ve worked with, and the supporters, and say it was a pleasure to work with each and every one of them.”

McCarthy, who signed Ward during his spell as Wolves manager, said: “He has had 50 caps and he can retire being proud of that achievement.

“I’m really proud to have worked with him because he was a really good player for me and for Ireland.”

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