Sunday 25 February 2018

‘The Irish Messi’: German media fell in love with Wes Hoolahan after his skillful showing

Wes Hoolahan has been compared to the great Lionel Messi after his performance today
Wes Hoolahan has been compared to the great Lionel Messi after his performance today
Will Slattery

Will Slattery

Ireland didn’t get the win against Sweden that they so desperately needed – and deserved – but there were still enough magical moments to create a whole pile of new major tournament memories for the travelling fans.

For one, there is a new entry to the list of all-time great Ireland goals.

Wes Hoolahan’s sweet sweep to the net was a thing of beauty – his awareness of where Seamus Coleman would put his cross, the way he kept a bouncing ball down when so many others would have ballooned it over the bar and his ability to steer the ball home with his weaker foot all contributed to a great moment for Irish football.

It was a just reward for a player who grew into the game in a way that mirrors his own career – often doubted after a few disappointments but with an ability that few Irish players can match when he picks up the ball and begins to probe for a gap.

Irish fans are well versed in what Hoolahan can do, but for many other people watching today’s 1-1 draw, they were introduced to his majesty for the first time.

German media organisation Der Spiegel seemed particularly taken with the diminutive attacker’s skill, with journalist Christian Godecke calling Hoolahan ‘the Irish Messi’ in his post-match report.

Pundits like Gary Lineker and Matt Le Tissier were mightily impressed too, and although they didn’t resort to such superlatives when praising the Irishman’s contribution, they were still effusive in their admiration.

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