Saturday 21 October 2017

Hoolahan pleads with Trap

Playmaker begs for chance to shine in free role behind striker

Wes Hoolahan
Wes Hoolahan
David Kelly

David Kelly

FRESH from being left on the bench at Wembley, Wes Hoolahan has pleaded with Giovanni Trapattoni to play him in a free role – insisting that he can give fresh impetus to Ireland's World Cup hopes.

FRESH from being left on the bench at Wembley, Wes Hoolahan has pleaded with Giovanni Trapattoni to play him in a free role – insisting that he can give fresh impetus to Ireland's World Cup hopes.

Hoolahan – who appears to be on the periphery of Trapattoni's plans – is desperate to play in his favoured role, though the manager seems certain to persist with a 4-4-2 system in tomorrow's Georgia friendly.

With Glenn Whelan rested for tomorrow's warm-up ahead of next Friday's World Cup qualifier against the Faroe Islands, Hoolahan may get a chance to impress but not in his best position.

And while Hoolahan (31) admits that he could adapt, he has re-stated his preference for the position where he continues to shine for Norwich in the Premier League, most recently when being named man of the match against Manchester City on the last day of the season.

"It's up to the manager to pick the formation with Ireland," he said. "At Norwich I generally play in the hole, behind the striker.

"When we play against the likes of Manchester City and Manchester United, we play what's more or less a 4-5-1, so I get to roam around and get on the ball as much as I can, but also help out the lads defensively when we don't have the ball."

Hull City midfielder Robbie Brady – who was likely to start at the Aviva tomorrow – will miss the next three matches after being sent home with a groin injury.

And, with John O'Shea rested, goalkeeper David Forde struggling with a knee problem and Robbie Keane not certain to start, there is likely to be a number of changes from the side that drew 1-1 with England at Wembley last Wednesday.

Derby County man Jeff Hendrick looks to be rivalling Hoolahan for a start and Richard Dunne looks set to play for the first time this season at some stage.

Stoke City defender Marc Wilson is likely to feature as he prepares to face the Faroes before getting a plate removed from his ankle, a procedure that will rule him out of the friendly against Spain in New York.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport