Giovanni Trapattoni leaves Republic of Ireland door open for Wes Hoolahan
Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni has left the international door open for Norwich City forward Wes Hoolahan – despite omitting him from his squad for this summer's European Championships.
The Italian boss of Ireland acknowledged he has seen plenty of Hoolahan in action during a Premier League campaign in which the 30-year-old has flourished.
However, Trapattoni feels this summer's tournament in Poland and Ukraine has come too soon for him to change his tactics and accommodate Hoolahan's talent – a situation that might change come preparations for the 2014 World Cup campaign.
'Hoolahan is a great player but when we knew Hoolahan he was already 28 or 29,' said Trapattoni, whose Ireland squad was announced on Monday. 'Now he's 30. He plays well and I saw him score in his last game.
'We saw many games of Hoolahan, Marco Tardelli (Trapattoni's assistant) and I. We do not forget him. We will build a team with other systems and other situations, also including James McCarthy and Steve Ireland.
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'But we couldn't change our system in this moment because we have a strong midfield and strong wingers. I don't want to change these two strikers.
'I am convinced we couldn't play with one striker and one with Hoolahan. Maybe in a friendly but also in friendly games, these are important for the rankings.'
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Trapattoni, speaking to the Irish Independent, added: 'I thought when I came here first it's not English football league, it's international football, it's a little bit different. We want to always build the balance in this team.
'We have no Messi, Ronaldo, Pele, but a team with a strong balance. That is the reason why we continue to follow Wes. But I have won cup, league cup and champions cup with this system.'
Despite impressive form for the Canaries in recent seasons Hoolahan has not been given the chance to add to his one Ireland cap, which came as a second-half substitute in a 1-0 victory over Columbia at Craven Cottage in May 2008 – in the same close-season Hoolahan swapped Blackpool for Carrow Road.