Sport Soccer

Saturday 20 January 2018

Hoolahan's perfect week could be capped off by Irish call-up

Wes Hoohahan Photo: Getty Images
Wes Hoohahan Photo: Getty Images
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

It's already been a pretty perfect week for Wes Hoolahan, but it could get better if Giovanni Trapattoni adds an international recall to achieving his Premier League dream.

Circumstances could open the door for the former Belvedere schoolboy who made his name with Shelbourne and has been one of Norwich City's main men this season as they achieved promotion. The Italian names his squad for Ireland's Carling Nations Cup clashes with Northern Ireland on May 24 and Scotland on May 29 this afternoon and player availability is sure to be a factor in his decision.

The visit of Nigel Worthington's Northern Ireland to the Aviva Stadium comes just two days after the final round of Premier League fixtures, while players involved in the Championship play-offs could be ruled out. Trapattoni has indicated that he sees the four-nation tournament as an opportunity to blood new talent and the in-form Dubliner -- who has scored 10 goals this season as the Canaries secured their return to the top flight -- appears to fit the bill as his club season will be over.

Trapattoni used Hoolahan as a substitute in a 1-0 friendly win over Colombia at Craven Cottage in 2008, but has not picked him since. However, his club form coupled with expected withdrawals could pitch him back into the squad.


Paul Green and Leon Best are definitely out of the games, while Sean St Ledger, Damien Duff, Keith Andrews and Darren O'Dea are currently out with injuries and Keiren Westwood missed Coventry City's match with Reading last week with a shoulder injury. Shane Long could be among those embroiled in the Championship play-offs, as could potential recruit Luke Chambers of Nottingham Forest.

Another who could receive a call-up is Wolves defender Richard Stearman, who is expected to be involved in Mick McCarthy's side's relegation dogfight decider against Blackburn.

For now, Hoolahan's excitement is fully focussed on achieving his Premier League dream at the age of 28. And he did it the hard way. He moved from Shelbourne to Scottish side Livingston, before Blackpool took him to Bloomfield Road where he earned a move to Carrow Road and thrived under Paul Lambert.

"The boys are buzzing. It hasn't hit us yet that we'll be in the Premier League next year playing against the big boys. We'll all look forward to it," said Hoolahan.

"I'm looking forward to playing against the big teams, playing in the big stadiums, so, hopefully, we can do ourselves some good. It's going to be amazing."

Irish Independent

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