Happy Birthday, Wes Hoolahan! Norwich City forward reaches 35 – and his former team-mate Grant Holt is backing him for another vintage Carrow Road season

Grant Holt and Wes Hoolahan share a joke as team-mates back in 2011. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus

Grant Holt and Wes Hoolahan share a joke as team-mates back in 2011. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images - Credit: Focus Images

Happy 35th birthday, Wes Hoolahan – Norwich City's mercurial Irishman who gets better with age.

Wes Hoolahan and Grant Holt combine to take the ball off Samir Nasri at The Etihad Stadium. Picture:

Wes Hoolahan and Grant Holt combine to take the ball off Samir Nasri at The Etihad Stadium. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

The Canaries' playmaker will take on his 10th season at Carrow Road the other side of the summer – and today's birthday – with a player of the season title finally under his belt.

Had it not been for one man, Hoolahan may well have picked up the Barry Butler memorial trophy sooner – but that same man is backing his former team-mate to deliver in his testimonial season.

'I sent a text to say congratulations pal, finally you got one – and thanks for my three; you probably should have got at least three of them! He just laughed,' said former City striker and fellow fans' favourite, Grant Holt.

Wes Hoolahan lifts Norwich City's player of the season award for the first time, for his efforts dur

Wes Hoolahan lifts Norwich City's player of the season award for the first time, for his efforts during the 2016-17 season. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

'I always get asked who was the best I played with and his name always comes up at the top of the list because he is that good. People talk about Ryan Giggs and how as he got older he got better and cleverer, and that is Wes.

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'As he's got older he has maybe had less game time, but he looks after himself great. I saw him the other week and he's changed his game a bit now, but he's absolutely fantastic at it. When he's on form he still does an unbelievable job.

'I wouldn't be surprised if everything gets sorted out for him to enjoy his testimonial at Norwich, which he thoroughly deserves. And he had a good season. It was topsy-turvy and when he has played, then Wes does what Wes does. That's what fans love about him.'

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'They will all get game time probably, but are they the same as Wes? Probably not,' added Holt, who won City's player of season award from 2010-2012.

'You'll always keep him around because you always know that if you need someone to win you a game, he can do that for you in a heartbeat. He doesn't have to wait for a certain moment – he can just unlock them very quickly.

'Pritchard looked good towards the end of the season and that he'd found his feet. They've got other boys like Maddison, and Tony Andreu will be back in the summer too.

'Those guys will look at Wes and will learn a lot from watching him, and that can only be a good thing for Norwich.'

• Follow Michael Bailey on Twitter @michaeljbailey and Facebook @mbjourno

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