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Wes Hoolahan underlined his quality with an assist for Grant Holt's match-winner against Celtic in midweek and Chris Hughton is in no doubt the Dubliner is good enough to shine on the international stage. Picture: Paul Chesterton / Focus Images
Friday, July 27, 2012
Chris Hughton has told Wes Hoolahan never to give up on his Republic of Ireland dream.
City’s midfield maestro was again overlooked by Giovanni Trapattoni for the upcoming friendly against Serbia in Belgrade, with the Italian opting to look at younger talent after an abject showing at this summer’s European Championships.
The Norwich boss earned 53 senior caps himself for the Republic and was part of the Irish squads at both Euro 88 and the Italia 90 World Cup.
Hoolahan again underlined his quality with an assist for Grant Holt’s match-winner against Celtic in midweek and Hughton is in no doubt the Dubliner is good enough to shine on the international stage.
He said: “Of course I knew Wes (before I came here). I remember watching him playing at Blackpool and probably the really good season he had there prior to moving on. Wes is a good player. He is particularly good in tight areas where he can work very, very well in the holes. If you give him time and space in those areas then he can benefit from that, but he is also a worker.
“The difficulty for Wes is the Irish team and squad has been so settled that there hadn’t been many changes made over that period. The manager wanted to stick with the squad he had and you could understand that, but as each campaign goes then opportunities will change and I am quite sure Wes must try to continue to be optimistic that things can change.”
Hoolahan himself revealed to the Irish Herald earlier this month he was hopeful of a Serbia call-up ahead of the Premier League campaign.
He said: “There’s a friendly in August and it would be nice to get a call-up and be involved in that. Maybe it will happen, you never know, because I feel I’ve been playing well over the last couple of years.
“I think I’ve done well. Obviously last year was my first in the Premier League but I felt comfortable at that level. It was a big step up but I adapted okay.
“I need to prove myself again at club level this season and it would be nice to get a chance at international level.
“People say there will be changes after the European Championships and maybe that can give players like me a chance, even if I’m not the youngest.”
The 30-year-old former Shels playmaker conceded his presence in Poland and the Ukraine may have made little difference to the Irish who returned home pointless after being drawn in the same group as finalists Spain and Italy.
Hoolahan said: “It was unfortunate because Ireland were in a group of death. We were up against some very difficult teams with quality players and it was always going to be tough.
“I wasn’t there watching the matches thinking, ‘I could have made a difference,’ because, to be honest, I don’t think it would have mattered if I or (Lionel) Messi was in that Ireland team given the sides we were up against.”