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Five veterans you could be seeing at Euro 2016

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Unlike England, not every nation has the luxury of possessing so many talented young players to choose from and instead have to look to their elder statesmen to make up up their squads.

You might have completely forgotten that these guys even existed and a perfectly reasonable reaction would be "how on earth is he still going?"

Going they still are and going at a surprisingly high level of performance, belying their years to represent their country against some of the world's best.

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Eidur Gudjohnsen, 37, recently secured his position with Iceland but with many full squads yet to be announced there is no guarantee that these players of a similar age will make the final cut.

However, they have at least been preliminarily picked or were involved in the last lot of internationals their country played.

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We'll also try to focus on players who have largely been forgotten in recent years so while the Republic of Ireland's leading scorer and appearance maker Robbie Keane would be an obvious choice, he has remained relatively well-known since his move to the MLS.

Ricardo Carvalho, 37 - 83 caps, 5 goals

This Portuguese centre-half might not even have a club in a couple of months: his current contract with Monaco runs out in July yet he could still be marshalling Cristiano Ronaldo and co this summer.

FBL-FRA-LIGUE1-MONACO-AJACCIO

He had even called his international career to an end in 2011, but after a change of manager three years later, he decided he'd give playing for his country another crack.

The year after his return he netted for the first time in eight years and isn't showing too many signs of his age catching up with him.

Of course, he isn't the exact same player that he was when playing alongside John Terry at Chelsea but the 43 games he has turned out in this season suggest the legs aren't going to fail him now.

Chelsea's English defender John Terry (R

While most managers will love him for his reading of the game and exceptional positional sense, we are hoping we'll get to see more of his rash side.

As he says himself: "I love to make crazy tackles, I love to slide on the ground." Let's just hope Wayne Rooney doesn't stomp on him again after one of those trademark challenges.

Shay Given, 40 - 133 caps

Since leaving Newcastle United in 2009, the goalkeeper with Ireland's second highest number of appearances has struggled to secure a starting position at any of Manchester City, Aston Villa or Stoke City.

His fading into the background comes after 12 seasons with Newcastle where he became one of the most consistent stoppers in the Premier League, twice being named in the PFA Team of the Year.

Perhaps in an attempt to preserve his club career at Villa, he retired from internationals in 2012, only to return again two years later when it was clear he was number two choice to Brad Guzan.

Stoke City v West Ham United - Premier League

After being denied a place at the 2010 World Cup by Thierry Henry's hand and a disappointing Euro 2012, Given will be hoping to make his 20th year in a Republic shirt a good one to possibly bow out on.

Playing time was shared between himself, David Forde and Darren Randolph during qualifying, meaning Given faces a tough battle for the number one shirt.

Gabor Kiraly, 40 - 101 caps

You'll remember this Hungarian goalie for his scruffy jogging bottoms and eccentric approach (a brief search of his best moments on Youtube turns up some mixed results) but as his nation's joint leading appearance-maker, no one should doubt his pedigree.

After playing ten matches during Hungary's unexpected qualification, he looks set to become the oldest player to ever play at a European Championship, beating Shay Given by just 19 days.

Hungary v Norway - UEFA EURO 2016 Qualifier: Play-Off Second Leg

In a world full of preened and precisely presented professional footballers, Kiraly is a reminder that unfashionable players still have a role to play in the modern game.

Hungary's last appearance at a European Championship was in 1972 and while they are clearly not going to be the force they were in the era of Ferenc Puskás, seeing Gabor's grotty grey trackies on an international stage is going to be one of the more unusual pleasures of France 2016.

Zoltán Gera, 37 - 87 caps, 24 goals

Kiraly's compatriot moved to the Premier League in the same summer transfer window as the keeper, the beginning of careers that would see them become the most successful Hungarians to ever play in the league.

Fans at West Bromwich Albion and Fulham were frequently treated to a Gera screamer that would appropriately be followed up by his trademark backflip celebration.

FBL-ENG-PR-WEST-BROM-QPR

Combining an exceptional work rate with a somewhat surprising ability to gracefully use both feet, the wiry attacking midfielder was inspirational in the Baggies' Great Escape of 2005 and Fulham's Europa League final run in 2010, the latter achievement bagging him the club's Player of the Year award.

As vice-captain, Gera will be responsible for leading those around him and, at his age, he should perhaps dispense with the risk he runs with every acrobatic performance after netting.

Aaron Hughes, 36 - 98 caps, 1 goal

As Northern Ireland's most capped outfield player and with considerable Premier League experience, the defender will be crucial in helping the younger players cope with the international game.

Like so many other Northern Irish players, this is Hughes' first major tournament and potentially his last.

Wales v Northern Ireland - International Friendly

Following his release by Melbourne City, the ex-Newcastle, Aston Villa and Fulham man has no club but will likely come very close to completing his century of international appearances this summer.

He has never been sent off in 455 Premier League matches and, alongside fellow veterans Roy Carroll and Gareth McAuley, has formed part of the defence that conceded just eight goals during their comfortable qualifying campaign.

Even when playing in England he barely ever grabbed a single headline, an expected side effect of being a player without one single frill in his robust style.

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Topics:
Chelsea
Eidur Gudjohnsen
Ricardo Carvalho
Crystal Palace
Football
Aaron Hughes
Zoltan Gera
Robbie Keane
Internationals
Premier League
Eidur Gudjohnsen
Shay Given
Gabor Kiraly

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