Norwich City midfielder Wes Hoolahan gets Giovanni Trapattoni’s backing
- Credit: PA
Republic of Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni has reiterated he knows how good Wes Hoolahan is despite another watching brief for the Norwich City midfielder against England at Wembley.
Hoolahan was yet again overlooked by the Italian, who opted to blood a host of younger talent in the 1-1 friendly draw.
The 31-year-old has still to start a game under Trapattoni since returning to the international fold after a four-year exile, but the experienced Irish manager is adamant Hoolahan has nothing to prove.
'I have no doubts about this player,' he said. 'I have seen him many times. The day before I said that in this game it will be very, very important to have strong players with physical strength. I know Wes is a fantastic offensive player but I do not want to force him to stay in midfield and try to win the ball.
'I talked with him and said we will play with one striker and four or five midfielders, but it was not the time to try this. I look at three or four of our younger players and they have grown in the course of this England match. Only against the great teams can you get this experience and against the great players. I was happy for (James) McCarthy, (Seamus) Coleman and Shane Long who for me were three of the best on the pitch because you could sense before the game the players in the dressing room were a bit tense.'
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Trapattoni hinted the likes of Hoolahan may feature in Sunday's latest friendly against Georgia in Dublin as the Irish fine-tune their preparations for a World Cup qualifier against the Faroe Islands, with first-choice midfielder Glenn Whelan is likely to be rested this weekend.
'I have to think again. Probably, yes, probably,' said the Italian, when asked directly if Hoolahan was in his thoughts. 'But we have to think again because we have also (Jeff) Hendrick. Whelan will have a rest because it's important for Whelan to have a rest before the Faroes at this moment. He has had a very tough season. But Wes could be, sure, one of the two midfielders. Could be.
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'I must pay attention to the game against the Faroe Islands. It is our jobs and our duty to understand which players after this tough season maybe need a bit of rest. We have to be careful the players do not play too much because the Faroe Islands match is our aim at the moment.'
Hoolahan's club mate Anthony Pilkington was forced to withdraw from the latest Republic squad to rest a persistent knee problem but Trapattoni is predicting a long international career for the former Huddersfield midfielder.
'Yes, I was disappointed. I have said in the past it is important to see him but he has an injury and the club pay attention to this and we must respect that,' he said. 'I am sure we will have an opportunity in the near future. He is definitely a player we have in our mind. I think the next future, I am sure, he will be with us.'