July 24 2014 Latest news:
Friday, June 13, 2014
Wes Hoolahan admits a starring role for the Republic of Ireland during their summer tour was the perfect tonic after his bit-part offering in Norwich City’s Premier League relegation fight.
Hoolahan made just 10 league starts for the Canaries during an unhappy club campaign, when he had a January transfer request rejected amid strong interest from Aston Villa, after falling out of favour with former boss Chris Hughton.
The Dubliner only played 68 minutes for Neil Adams during the run-in and has already been touted with summer moves to Villa and Leicester City as he enters the final year of a current Carrow Road deal signed in December 2012.
Hoolahan’s lack of club action has not hindered his international ambitions, with Martin O’Neill praising the 32-year-old’s impact during the Republic’s four-match friendly tour.
The attacking midfielder now appears firmly in O’Neill’s plans for the European Championship qualifying campaign which starts later this year.
“Obviously it wasn’t a good way to end (the season), getting relegated with Norwich. It’s not nice,” said Hoolahan. “But these last three or four weeks have got my confidence back up and I am buzzing again for playing. It’s been great. I played three of the four games, so it was nice to come out with that.
“Obviously the results were disappointing and hopefully come September, we will be all heads down and ready to win in the qualifiers.”
Hoolahan was joined on tour by club mate Anthony Pilkington, who was another on the fringes of the Canaries’ relegation struggle. The Irish were hammered 5-1 by World Cup-bound Portugal in midweek to wrap up their two-date US tour after a 1-1 draw against Costa Rica and domestic friendlies against Italy and Turkey.
“You want to play against the best teams and you want to test yourself. The last three games we have tested ourselves and it will stand us in good stead,” said Hoolahan. “The Portugal match was tough. You are playing against one of the best teams in the world.”