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Given sets sights on Euro place

Shay Given has underlined Ireland's desire to reach the Euro 2012 finals by claiming it would be a "fantastic" achievement.

Given's selection for next month's play-off against Estonia was never in doubt, but manager Giovanni Trapattoni raised some eyebrows by taking a chance on the fitness of striker Shane Long when naming his 26-man squad.

Like Trapattoni, Given is determined to do everything in his power to help Ireland see off Estonia and book their place in the finals and he said: "It's a big two games home and away next month and we've got a real, real chance of qualification."

He added: "We've got a very good squad with Ireland now and a real possibility to get to Poland and Ukraine next summer. That would be fantastic if we could get back there (to the finals of a European Championship)."

Ireland last reached the finals of a European Championship in 1988, when Given was a schoolboy and the likes of James McCarthy and Seamus Coleman had not been born.

Ireland beat England in the group stage at the 1988 finals but have fallen short of qualifying since then. Aston Villa goalkeeper Given has won a record 118 caps for Ireland and made his debut as far back as 1996, but he is not thinking about handing over the gloves just yet.

And Given is certainly not thinking about bowing out at Euro 2012 just yet. He told Absolute Radio: "I don't know, we'll see, but we'd better get there first you know. We don't want to get ahead of ourselves."

Given has dismissed his prospects of becoming the world's most capped player - he would need to play on for many years to pass the current mark of 178 - but stressed that the numbers game is of little interest to him.

"I'm not in it to make loads of caps," he said.

"I'm in it to try to do well for my country and give something to them. If I'm good enough to play then I should play and if I'm not then it's time for me to step aside and someone else to come in and play. I'll make that decision when the time is right."


From Belfast Telegraph