Monday 18 December 2017

Hoolahan a doubt for Spain friendly with hamstring scare

Liam Kelly

Liam Kelly

WES Hoolahan enjoyed his first competitive start for his country, but now he's doubtful for the prestige friendly against Spain on Tuesday.

Norwich midfielder Hoolahan was a will-o'the wisp, all-action operator in the Irish midfield last night, but he suffered a hamstring injury.

"I don't know about New York yet, we'll have to discuss that later, but it was great to get my first competitive start, and great to get the win. Robbie capped it off, and made it happen with his goals," said Hoolahan.

Hoolahan, who was central to Keane's first two goals, came in for warm praise from Trapattoni who acknowledged he had overlooked the Norwich player for too long.

The skillful midfielder didn't waste much time in making an impact as he helped create the all-important first goal which came in the fifth minute.

"It came off for us nicely. I gave it out to Aiden McGeady and he put a great ball in for Robbie.

"Likewise with Seamus (Coleman) when I gave it to him, he put a great ball in for Robbie who was there to tap it in for the second goal which was important for us," said Hoolahan.

The most important factor for the ex-League of Ireland player is that he has firmly put himself in Giovanni Trapattoni's plans.

"Yes I suppose so. I felt comfortable on the ball in midfield where I have played for the past five or six years, so I can play either off the strikers or in front of the back four," Hoolahan said.

The icing on the cake would have been a goal for Hoolahan, but though he came close, it wasn't to be.

And later he was unhappy about being booked for an innocuous offence.

"Yeah, there was a header! It was a great ball by Aiden and I think I got up a bit too quick. I'd scored one like that for Norwich early this year.

"The yellow card was a bit harsh I think but I don't mind that really," he said.

Trapattoni will finalise his travelling party this morning.

Irish Independent

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