Norwich City’s Wes Hoolahan misses out on Euros
The will-he-or-won't-he debate over Wes Hoolahan's international recall for the European Championship was answered yesterday when the Irishman was left out of manager Giovanni Trapattoni's squad.
Hoolahan didn't even make the standby list for the Republic's trip to Poland and Ukraine in June, while there was also no place for Canaries team-mate Anthony Pilkington, who has played for the Irish under-21s, but is also eligible for England.
Trapattoni has steadfastly refused to call on Hoolahan, whose only senior appearance was as a second-half substitute in a 1-0 win over Colombia at Craven Cottage, in May, 2008.
Hoolahan scored his fourth Premier League goal of the season at Arsenal on Saturday and his record of 24 top-flight starts for the Canaries is only better by three other players – John Ruddy (36), Russell Martin (29) and Kyle Naughton (28).
Trapattoni said: 'Hoolahan is a great player, but when we knew Hoolahan he was already 28 or 29. Now he's 30. He plays well and I saw him score in his last game.
'We saw many games of Hoolahan, Marco Tardelli and I. We do not forget him. We will build a team with other systems and other situation, also including James McCarthy and Steve Ireland.
'But we couldn't change our system in this moment because we have a strong midfield and strong wingers. I don't want to change these two strikers.
- 1 The homeless newlyweds who have lived in their car for a year
- 2 Father and son in court charged with murder of man
- 3 Former Norwich restaurant to be transformed into £1.5m food hall
- 4 Father in court charged with murder of his teen daughter
- 5 Meet the three Norfolk businesses featured in Antiques Road Trip
- 6 10-year-old town centre deli announces sudden closure
- 7 Revealed: No one has paid £10,000 fines issued for breaking Covid rules
- 8 Man charged with murder of 19-year-old daughter
- 9 Solar farm approved despite concerns over impact on neighbours
- 10 Yarmouth market's pea and pie stall holder to retire
'I am convinced we couldn't play with one striker and one with Hoolahan. Maybe in a friendly but also in friendly games, these are important for the rankings.'
While observers at home may question Hoolahan's omission, many will be delighted that Trapattoni has included James McClean in his squad.
Six months ago, McClean was a relative unknown outside Ireland as he waited patiently for a chance to show what he could do in the Premier League for Sunderland.
But now he will be given the opportunity to showcase his skills to a pan-European audience as the fairytale which his career has become continues unabated.
The 23-year-old got his big chance when then Black Cats boss Steve Bruce made a �350,000 summer swoop to snap him up from Derry City.
Bruce, ever cautious of the potential for a young player's confidence to suffer irreparable damage by premature exposure, kept him waiting in the wings.
Had he known the impact McClean would have when he was finally thrust into the limelight, the former Manchester United skipper might have given him his head, but ultimately it was fellow Ulsterman Martin O'Neill who let the exciting winger off the leash, and to devastating effect.
Midfielder James McCarthy asked to be withdrawn from consideration for selection for Euro 2012 after his father was diagnosed with cancer.
McCarthy, who was born in Scotland but switched his allegiance to Ireland, was not in the 23-player squad.
• Squad: Shay Given (Aston Villa), Keiren Westwood (Sunderland), David Forde (Millwall); John O'Shea (Sunderland), Stephen Kelly (Fulham), Stephen Ward (Wolves), Richard Dunne (Aston Villa), Sean St Ledger (Leicester), Darren O'Dea (Leeds), Kevin Foley (Wolves); Glenn Whelan (Stoke), Keith Andrews (West Brom), Keith Fahey (Birmingham), Darron Gibson (Everton), Damien Duff (Fulham), Aiden McGeady (Spartak Moscow), Stephen Hunt (Wolves), James McClean (Sunderland); Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy), Kevin Doyle (Wolves), Shane Long, Simon Cox (both West Brom), Jon Walters (Stoke).
• Stand-by: Darren Randolph (Motherwell), Paul McShane (Crystal Palace), Paul Green (Unattached), Seamus Coleman (Everton), Andy Keogh (Millwall).