December 19 2013 Latest news:
Paddy Davitt, EDP Sports Writer
Saturday, August 11, 2012
Chris Hughton admits losing a quartet of City stars to international duty on the eve of the Premier League season is far from ideal.
Wes Hoolahan initially made it five call-ups, although he was withdrawn from the Republic of Ireland squad last night within hours of his selection for next week’s friendly against Serbia in Belgrade because of an Achilles problem.
Team mate John Ruddy had earlier in the day been included in England’s party for a trip to Switzerland to face Italy next Wednesday. With Robert Snodgrass, Russell Martin and Steve Morison also away with their respective nations, Hughton concedes the timing is difficult three days before the Premier League opener at Fulham.
“If anything what you would prefer is if the games are on a Tuesday because that still gives us another day,” he said. “They come back that night and have a day’s recovery before we come back and train on a Thursday. So, no, it is not ideal.
“There are no positives from that respect, but the only thing against that from my point of view is that it wasn’t a surprise.
“It will probably affect other clubs a little bit more than ourselves. There are the bigger clubs who could miss anything from ten to 12 to 14 players. When you go through a pre-season trying to prepare a team and then the one week before you get the players taken away then it is not ideal, but we have to adapt to it.”
Hughton, however, was delighted to see Ruddy’s elevation to the Three Lions’ squad after his European Championship injury heartache in the summer. The 25-year-old looks poised to make his national debut against the Azzurri in Berne with Jack Butland set to be released from the squad to play in Birmingham’s League Cup tie 24 hours earlier.
“You would have to say he merits it on the showings of last year. He was very unlucky with injury in the summer that he had to withdraw,” said Hughton. “You felt a little bit for him and you hoped that it wasn’t his opportunity gone. Very quickly the new season comes around and to be picked at this stage sets a little bit of a marker for John. It gives him a lift going into the season. I can see his qualities from having worked with him over this short period, but that does not stand for a lot in all honesty. “He is not going to be judged for what I see in training, but what he does in the games. What he did last season in the Premier League was good enough to get him an introduction into the England squad. That was testament to John for his work and his preparation. He is doing the right work in training and it is paying off.
“If he is able to have as good a season as last I’ll be delighted. If you are away on international duty then you are mixing with the better players, playing in big international games on the biggest stage is only going to make you more assured .”
Saturday’s opponents Sunderland are next up in our ‘Norwich City Win, Lose or Draw’ game where Canaries fans get to pit their wits against our writers and columnists.