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Northern Ireland veteran Chris Baird announces retirement from international football

By Adrian Rutherford

Published 17/08/2016

PACEMAKER BELFAST 20/8/2007
New Northern Ireland captain Chris Baird prepares to lead out his country for the first time against Leichtenstein at Windsor park on Wednesday night.
PHOTO CHARLES MCQUILLAN/PACEMAKER
PACEMAKER BELFAST 20/8/2007 New Northern Ireland captain Chris Baird prepares to lead out his country for the first time against Leichtenstein at Windsor park on Wednesday night. PHOTO CHARLES MCQUILLAN/PACEMAKER
Northern Ireland v Latvia Friendly International Northern Irelands Steven Davis and Chris Baird during friendly International at Windsor park. Photo Alan Weir/Pacemaker Press
Northern Ireland's Chris Baird celebrates after game at The Olympic Stadium in Helsinki on 11/10/2015 Finland v Northern Ireland Euro 2016 Qualifier Group Group F Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
Chris Baird, Steve Davis & Chris Brunt are all smiles after Euro 2008 qualifier at Windsor park in Belfast.17/11/07 Photo: Arthur Allison/PACEMAKER
Pacemaker Press 8/9/08 Northern Ireland's Chris Baird at a press conference before they face the Czech Republic in a world Cup qualifier at Windsor park Pic Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 16/8/08 Chris Baird and Gareth McAuley at a press conference ahead of their Challenge match with Scotland at Hampden Park in Glasgow. Pic Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker
07/09/2015 Northern Ireland v Hungary : Euro 2016 qualifier Windsor Park Belfast. Northern Ireland’s Chris Baird gets a red card during game at Windsor park. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
10/6/2015 Northern Ireland's Chris Baird at a Press conference ahead of Northern Ireland's UEFA Euro 2016 qualifier against Romania at Windsor Park in Belfast. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
24/5/2016 Northern Ireland's Chris Baird during a Squad Media Day, As Northern Ireland prepare for the EURO 2016 tournament in France. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
20/8/2007 New Northern Ireland captain Chris Baird prepares to lead out his country for the first time against Leichtenstein at Windsor park. PHOTO CHARLES MCQUILLAN/PACEMAKER
29/03/2015 Man of the Match Kyle Lafferty with Chris Baird PACEMAKER BELFAST
29-03-15 Northern Ireland v Finland - Euro 2016 Qualifier Northern Ireland's Chris Baird sees his goal ruled out during game at Windsor Park in Belfast. Photo David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
14/11/2014 Bucharest – UEFA Euro 2016 Qualifier – Romania v Northern Ireland Northern Ireland's Chris Baird after the second goal during game in Romania. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
The Northern Ireland team who played Germany in June 2005. Back row L/R David Healy, Stephen Craiggan, Keith Gillespie, Miak Taylor, George McCartney and Mark Clyde Front Row Damien Johnston, Steve Jones, Steven davis, Chris baird and Stuart Elliott PACEMAKER BELFAST
28/4/2004. Northern Ireland defender Chris Baird wins this aerial battle with Serbia & Montenegro striker Paunovic during game at Windsor park in Belfast. PHOTO WILLIAM CHERRY/PACEMAKER
11/11/2015 Northern Ireland's Chris Baird during a Players press conference at the Culloden Hotel, ahead of the International Friendly against Latvia at Windsor Park. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
24/6/2016 Northern Ireland's Conor McLaughlin , Chris Baird and Patrick McNair get close during training at Parc Des Princes in Paris ahead of their Euro 2016, final16 game against Wales. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
11/10/2015 Finland v Northern Ireland Euro 2016 Qualifier Group Group F Northern Ireland's Chris Baird celebrates after the game at The Olympic Stadium in Helsinki. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
11/11/2015 Northern Ireland's Chris Baird during a Players press conference at the Culloden Hotel, ahead of the International Friendly against Latvia at Windsor Park. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

Northern Ireland veteran Chris Baird has announced that he will retire from international football.

The 34-year-old, who played in defence and midfield, won 79 caps in his 13 years.

His final appearance for his country came in Northern Ireland's opening Euro 2016 game against Poland in Nice in June.

Baird currently plays club football for Championship side Derby County.

He has previously played for Southampton, Fulham, Reading, Burnley and West Bromwich Albion.

Speaking about his decision to retire from international football Chris Baird said: “It was a tough decision because I have enjoyed every single minute that I have played for Northern Ireland. I discussed it with my family and as I am not getting any younger I felt it was the right thing to do at this stage.

“Qualification for Euro 2016 was the icing on the cake for my international career, but I have so many fantastic memories, like the win over England and beating Spain.

“I am fortunate to have lined out with some great players over the past 13 years and I would like to thank the managers, coaches and Irish FA staff that I have worked over that time. I would also like to thank the Northern Ireland fans who have been absolutely tremendous. It is true – they are the best supporters in the world.”

Northern Ireland international Manager, Michael O’Neill, said: “Chris has been an absolute rock for me in the four years that I have been in charge. His defensive qualities, his reading of the game and his experience have been invaluable, especially in our Euro 2016 qualification campaign.

“In addition to his football ability, he is also a fantastic person and we will miss him around the squad.

“Chris has been a tremendous servant to Northern Ireland. I fully respect his decision to retire from international football at this stage and I wish him every success as he continues his highly successful club career.”

Fans have started paying tributes online.

One said: "Chris Baird officially retires from international football what a contribution he made to Northern Ireland over the years, unsung hero."

Another posted: "Often unheralded, but important versatile player over 13 years."




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