Norwich City duo Anthony Pilkington and Wes Hoolahan earn Republic call ups for England Wembley friendly
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich midfielder Anthony Pilkington will get a fresh chance to stake his claim for a place in the Republic of Ireland's World Cup plans after being called up for this month's prestige friendly against England at Wembley.
Pilkington, along with Canaries' club mate Wes Hoolahan, were named in Giovanni Trapattoni's provisional 28-man squad announced on Monday lunchtime for the friendly against the Three Lions on May 29, along with scheduled summer friendlies against Georgia and World Champions Spain, following a World Cup qualifier against the Faroe Islands.
Trapattoni was at Carrow Road on Sunday to watch Pilkington and Hoolahan star in Norwich's 4-0 Premier League win over West Brom which secured Norwich's top flight status. Pilkington has yet to earn his first Repbulic cap at senior level after being forced to withdraw from the Italian's previous two squads due to injury.
Pilkington admitted prior to City's weekend win it would be a dream come true to add to his solitary cap for the Irish under-21s against the land of his birth.
'It would be massive. To play at Wembley is massive for any footballer – it's one of the best stadiums to play at, in front of the English fans in England v Ireland would be great,' he said. 'I haven't really thought about it, to be honest. I was in the last two squads and had to pull out because of injury. That's up to the Irish squad and the people here (at Norwich), the physios and the manager, to see whether I'll be available for that and go from there. Any game in the Premier League is a massive game. They're all shown to millions and millions of viewers, so every chance you get to play well, you need to take it.'
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Hoolahan has forced his way into Trapattoni's plans this season after two consistent campaigns in the Premier League. The Dubliner scored his first international goal for his country at senior level in a 2-0 win over Poland back in February after making his long-awaited return following a six-year absence in the 1-0 friendly defeat to Greece in October. Hoolahan was also included in the Irish squad for March's World Cup qualifiers against Austria and Sweden, but did not feature.
The Republic's trip to Wembley is the first of four scheduled fixtures. Georgia visit Dublin on June 2 in another friendly ahead of a World Cup qualifier in Dublin on June 7 against the Faroe Islands and a high profile friendly against World and European Champions Spain in New York on June 11.
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England boss Roy Hodgson is poised to name his squad for the Irish friendly, which could feature City keeper John Ruddy following his return to the first team against the Baggies, on Thursday following Chelsea's Europa League final the previous night.
• Repbulic of Ireland provisional squad to face England, Georgia, Faroe Islands and Spain
• Forde, Westwood, Randolph, O'Shea, St Ledger, Delaney, Richard Keogh, Wilson, Coleman, Kelly, O'Dea, McShane, Whelan, McCarthy, Green, Hendrick, McGeady, Pilkington, McClean, Brady, Meyler, Andy Keogh, Keane, Long, Sammon, Walters, Cox, Hoolahan.