AFTER an impressive week of international duty, Wes Hoolahan feels that only a run of form with Norwich City in the Premier League at the start of next season will allow him keep his place in the Ireland XI for the next round of World Cup qualifiers in September.
Hoolahan made his first competitive international start, at the age of 31, having also made a big contribution in the previous game, a 4-0 friendly win over Georgia.
But players like Keith Andrews, James McCarthy and Paul Green have been further up than Hoolahan in the estimation of manager Giovanni Trapattoni.
So Hoolahan knows that he can't be guaranteed a place in the XI for the next major games on the road to Brazil, the home tie with Sweden and the trip to Austria in September, especially as Hoolahan has withdrawn from the squad for tomorrow's game against Spain due to a hamstring injury.
"We have a big squad and we have other players who will come back into the squad for the next games, so all you can do on an individual basis is keep doing well for your club and then hope that the opportunity with Ireland will come," Hoolahan told The Herald.
"I think I did well in the two games even though it was an unusual scenario for me. I can't remember the last time I played as one of a two-man central midfield, but that's the job I did with Glenn Whelan last week, and I think I did ok.
"I was happy with the night on Friday. We got the win we deserved, Robbie got three goals and it was nice on a personal level to play a part in one of the goals."
There was one downside for the former Shelbourne man as he was shown a yellow card in the second half of the win, for a foul on an opponent.
"I'm not known for getting bookings, it was a bit stupid of me, I pulled him back and I probably deserved it," he explained.