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Wes played himself into contention says Italian

GIOVANNI Trapattoni now sees Wes Hoolahan as a potential starter against Sweden when World Cup qualifying begins again in March.

Less than 45 eye-catching minutes were required for Hoolahan to leap from also ran, straight into Trapattoni's plans.

"For the squad? Yes but he is also an option," said Trapattoni after firing around more praise than the previous few years.

"The result was disappointing but the performance confirmed what I was looking for from the young players. In the first 20 minutes, we played great football.

"The positive situation was the performance of three, four players. Coleman deserved Man of the Match, and Clark was also fantastic. Hoolahan showed he can give us an option. We can use these players in the future.

"Seamus is fast. He can recover the ball, he has a good personality and at this moment, he has a very good future.

"Hoolahan was very good and confirmed the quality we know he has. He's a good option maybe if we need to have one striker and at the moment, we have no other players in this position.

"In the first 20 minutes, we played very, very great football. We conceded the goal and even then, we still had more possession.

"Football is about results, but we had some good situations and three or four of the players showed their personality in this difficult game.

"It was very important to have a good performance after the disappointment against Germany. You can see a progression."

Trapattoni, like everyone else in the sparsely populated Aviva, believed that Ireland could have and should have had a couple of penalties.

"In the first minute, there was a great penalty - all our fans saw it. But maybe the referee did not have the courage to blow after one minute."

Greece manager Fernando Santos was surprised by the opening salvo from Ireland but was more than satisfied with the win.

"We expected a very competitive game between two good teams and in the first 10 minutes, the Irish team tried to surprise us and they managed to do that," said Santos.

"But after that 10-minute period we managed to keep the ball more and take the initiative in the game. We had some chances to score and we did score a goal. In the second half, it was a different game and we had a very good defensive organisation."