Monday 11 December 2017

I won't give up Norwich place without a fight - Hoolahan

Wes Hoolahan believes he still has plenty to offer for Norwich City. Photo: Getty
Wes Hoolahan believes he still has plenty to offer for Norwich City. Photo: Getty
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Wes Hoolahan is determined to impress a new manager and ensure that his tenth season at Norwich is a successful one.

The 34-year-old Dubliner is settled in East Anglia and has indicated that he would like to spend the rest of his career with the club.

He was one of the bright sparks in a disappointing campaign for the Canaries, who were expected to challenge for automatic promotion after dropping down from the Premier League.

But Norwich ended up in eighth spot, well out of the promotion shake-up due to their inconsistency.

Interestingly, they had no real problems going forward, with a return of 85 goals meaning they were the division's joint top scorers with champions Newcastle and play-off challengers Fulham.

Conceded

But they conceded more goals (69) than Blackburn who were relegated from the division.

Scottish manager Alex Neil was shown the door in March and it was reported in the aftermath that he was keen to replace Hoolahan, who was out of favour midway through the season.

That was an unpopular opinion and the Irish schemer ended up being crowned Norwich's player of the season, which he finished it off in style with two goals and two assists in Sunday's thrashing of QPR.

And Hoolahan made it clear in the aftermath that he is keen to be a part of the next phase, with the Canaries seeking a permanent replacement for Neil.

"It will be my 10th season, the hunger is still there, I want to do well," said Hoolahan. "With a new head coach coming in, he will have new ideas, and hopefully we all push in the right direction and get promoted.

"I know I'm coming on in my age but I have a hunger to do well. I'm not going to say, 'you can have my place in the team'.

Hoolahan is aware that he faces competition, and an alternative option coming through the ranks is Irish-qualified attacking midfielder James Maddison, who joined from his hometown club Coventry last year.

"Young legs drive me on," continued Hoolahan. "James has got real quality, which you see in training every day and to have those two No 10s in our squad is brilliant.

"Like anybody on the team, we want to work hard to move on together and win games. If it is a little part or a big part, I am more than happy. I'm obviously going to work hard and he will work hard as well.

"We know it was a bad season for us. A new man is going to come in with new ideas and change it around, and we look forward to it. We're all playing for places now. No-one's job is safe at the moment. We all have to come in pre-season ready to go, and ready for a season in the Championship."

Before then, Hoolahan has Irish commitments in the summer. He will be an important part of that gathering and so too will Derby full-back Cyrus Christie, who will need to resolve his club situation in the intervening period.

Christie is set to start the June 11 World Cup qualifier with Austria due to Seamus Coleman's misfortune. The 24-year-old is out of contract with Derby - where he has been in and out of the side - and is yet to agree a new contract, with County boss Gary Rowett indicating that no decision has been reached.

Irish Independent

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