Friday 6 December 2019

Republic midfielder Wes Hoolahan retires from international football

Norwich midfielder says his Ireland dream came true.

By Damian Spellman, Press Association Sport

Republic of Ireland midfielder Wes Hoolahan has announced his retirement from international football at the age of 35.

The Norwich midfielder, who has 43 caps to his name, has decided the World Cup qualifying campaign which ended with play-off defeat by Denmark in November, will be his last with Martin O’Neill’s team.

He told the Irish Independent: “It wasn’t a thing for me to get 50 caps. I didn’t think that way. I really enjoyed the Euros in France and after that, I said it would be just one more campaign.

“I enjoyed the last campaign, even though it didn’t end well for us, but this is the right time for me to go.

“It was an honour to play for my country. I have great memories and they will last forever. I grew up dreaming of playing for my country and when that dream came true for me, it was a great honour.”

In the eyes of many, Hoolahan, who will celebrate his 36th birthday in May, was chronically under-used for much of his international career.

One of the more naturally gifted players of his generation, he brought an invention to the national team which established him as a fans’ favourite.

He scored Ireland’s opening goal at the Euro 2016 finals in France in a 1-1 draw with Sweden which helped them to reach the knockout stage.

However, as O’Neill turned to a new generation and fresh energy in the last campaign, his chances became increasingly limited.

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