Norwich City magician Wes Hoolahan is a gem for Alex Neil
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Alex Neil revealed his special relationship with Wes Hoolahan can bring the best out of the Norwich City midfielder.
Hoolahan has been in sparkling early season form and was a key figure in the 3-1 Premier League win against Sunderland.
Neil admitted the 33-year-old was unhappy to be substituted in the second half at the Stadium of Light, but the City boss plans to keep on handling his influential talisman with care.
'The previous week he played the full match, so it is not a question about his workload,' he said. 'He wanted to stay on and he was enjoying himself and he is that type of player but the main reason I took him off was that we were 3-0 up at that stage, so we wanted to preserve what we had but I also had an eye on Stoke as well.
'Wes is 33 and if you demand the maximum from him every game then eventually it will catch up with him. It was a wee bit of self-preservation as well as solidifying the team.'
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Hoolahan created two assists for Steven Whittaker and Nathan Redmond's goals and was a constant threat on Wearside in a maiden top flight win for Neil.
'He doesn't surprise me what he can do. That is why he is in my team,' said Neil. 'Wes has been fantastic last year and great again this.
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'The older he has got in the last couple of years he has really kicked on as a player and his experience, quality and ball control are there for all to see. Technically, he is a fantastic little player.
'Wes has performed fantastically for me. I used him in certain games last season and not others, which I think helped him, and he understands that now. I have a great relationship with him.'