Anthony Pilkington’s summer of rest rules him out of Republic of Ireland duty

Anthony Pilkington can't quite believe the assistant referee's decision during their superb win at M

Anthony Pilkington can't quite believe the assistant referee's decision during their superb win at Manchester City. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Anthony Pilkington returned just in time to help push Norwich City over the Premier League survival line but only a summer's rest will sort out his injury problems – and that means postponing his Republic of Ireland bow once again.

The City winger has been on Giovanni Trapattoni's Irish list since February, but injuries repeatedly left him missing out.

And the same will happen again for the post-season friendlies, including their game with England at Wembley at the end of this month – saving Pilkington from any tough decisions over his impending wedding and honeymoon.

'The management and the physio have pulled me out – I've been struggling with my knee so I need to get treatment through the summer and an extra four games is not going to help me through pre-season,' said Pilkington.

'I need a rest and I need the treatment that I'm going to be getting through the summer in the off season, so hopefully I can put that behind me and come back pre-season 100pc fit. It's unfortunate these injuries have popped up at the worst times for me. But like I say, I've got to put that behind me now, get right for next season and then hopefully see if I can get back in the squad.

'It wouldn't be right for me to go away and them come back in pre-season struggling. I've had to manage the injury (to his patellar tendon) towards the end of the season and because of my knee, I've picked up a few hamstring injuries. So I'll go away in the summer, work hard, get 100pc fit and come back flying.'

And as always, with the full support of the 24-year-old's wife-to-be, Joleen: 'She will always support me whatever I do – but she's happy that she gets to go away,' he added.

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At least Pilkington bowed out in style, setting City on their way to a famous victory with his first-half opener after good work from Wes Hoolahan – his first goal since scoring a free-kick against the same opponents at Carrow Road over Christmas.

'It's been a long time coming but it just shows what quality we've got in the squad, to come away to Manchester City at the Etihad and I thought we were the best team on the day,' added Pilkington.

'We just came here and at the start of the game said to just enjoy ourselves and with the freedom we had, that's what we did.'