Wes Hoolahan to get the nod for Ireland's World Cup qualifier against the Faroe Islands
Two-goal Keane gives Canaries playmaker his seal of approval
WES HOOLAHAN is in line for a first competitive Irish start after impressing in the friendly stroll over Georgia, and has received a ringing endorsement from Robbie Keane.
The Norwich playmaker impressed in a central midfield role in a game that developed into a routine victory for the hosts after Georgian 'keeper Giorgi Loria was dismissed in the first half.
Keane came off the bench at half-time to become Ireland's joint most-capped player along with Shay Given and marked his 125th appearance with a brace, adding to strikes from Richard Keogh and Simon Cox. He enjoyed linking up with Hoolahan and says that the 31-year-old has a 'great case' to start Friday's World Cup qualifier with the Faroe Islands.
"You know what he can do, he likes to get the ball and play it around the corner which suits me perfect because I'm always in the hole waiting," said Keane. "We link up very, very well."
Hoolahan is better known as an attacking midfielder behind a lone striker, but with James McCarthy suspended, Giovanni Trapattoni hinted that he will again use him in the centre of a 4-4-2 against the minnows from the Faroes, who are expected to defend deep.
"He is a good option for the Faroes," said Trapattoni. "We can have him with (Glenn) Whelan, maybe we can select wingers that can give him strength."
Trapattoni also hinted at surprise involvement for Richard Dunne in the Faroes match after he came through his 25-minute recovery from a year on the sidelines. Dunne, who also praised Hoolahan, was given little to do with the Irish on top, but the manager says he will compete with John O'Shea and Sean St Ledger for a central-defensive berth.
Certainly, he is a strong contender to figure in the New York clash with Spain on June 11 as he looks to convince potential employers of his wellbeing.