Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Shay Given has announced his retirement from international soccer.

Given, who made the revelation via Twitter, is the most capped Republic of Ireland international of all time, having amassed 125 caps.

The Aston Villa netminder made his debut against Russia in 1996.

The 36-year-old tweeted: “After a lot of thought and consideration, I have made the most difficult decision to retire from international football.

“It's been a great honour and privilege to play and on occasion captain the team. I shall remain a huge fan of the team as I have been all my life and I wish them every success for the future.

“I wish to thank all the players, managers, staff and most importantly the most wonderful fans in the world.

“Finally I would like to thank my wife Jane, my two amazing kids and my entire family for their unwavering support over the 16 years and 125 caps.”

The Aston Villa number one was omitted from Giovanni Trapattoni's squad for the friendly against Serbia on Wednesday, with the Italian looking to blood youngsters following their disappointing Euro 2012 campaign.

Given was an ever-present in Poland and Ukraine as the Republic lost all three of their group games to Croatia and finalists Spain and Italy.

But with a World Cup qualifying campaign that opens with a trip to Kazakhstan just around the corner, the 36-year-old has opted to stand aside.

The former Newcastle and Manchester City keeper told the FAI's official website: "This has been an extremely difficult decision for me to make.

"I have dedicated 16 years of my life to my country, and I have a great affinity with Giovanni Trapattoni's squad.

"I'd like to thank the Giovanni, (assistant) Marco (Tardelli) and Alan Kelly for their support during my time with the team. I will continue to be Ireland's biggest fan, and wish the lads well as they embark upon their new campaign."

Given made his name with Newcastle but it was his on-loan performances for fierce rivals Sunderland and, prior to that, Swindon from Blackburn that caught the attentions of then Republic boss Mick McCarthy.

He had established himself as a regular for both club and country before 2002, where he played a key role as the Irish reached the second round of the World Cup in Japan and South Korea before being knocked out by Spain on penalties.

Given won his 100th cap in a World Cup qualifier against Montenegro in October 2009.

Trapattoni thanked Given for his efforts, telling the FAI website: "I understand the difficult decision that Shay had to make, and appreciate all of his efforts during his international career.

"He is a strong player, with a great character and his love of playing for his country always shone through.

"It has been a pleasure to work with him during my time with the team. I wish him the very best in his future."