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
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Happy 35th birthday, Wes Hoolahan – Norwich City's mercurial Irishman who gets better with age.
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.
'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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Regardless of the summer rebuild, the competition to play off City's strikers next season looks set to be more intense than ever.
'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.'