Savour Wes Hoolahan while you can, is Robbie Brady’s message on his Norwich City and Republic of Ireland team mate
- Credit: PA
Republic of Ireland goalscoring ace Wes Hoolahan is getting better with age, insists compatriot and Norwich City pal Robbie Brady.
Hoolahan scored in his country's Euro 2016 opening Group E 1-1 draw against Sweden on Monday in a virtuoso display which underlined his importance for the Irish.
Brady was also instrumental in an impressive first salvo from Martin O'Neill's squad, but his fellow Dubliner was the man-of-the-match. Hoolahan watched Euro 2012 from a Spanish holiday villa after failing to make Giovanni Trapattoni's squad but Brady is in no doubt the Norwich midfielder deserves his spot on the big stage.
'He's brilliant, he's a class act and I'm over the moon for him,' he said. 'No one will be able to take the goal away from him and he put in a man-of-the-match performance as well. He was excellent, which he always is. He's a joy to play with and it's a joy to watch him play.
'It's a shame for football, a shame for Irish football especially that he did miss that much time and people didn't get to see him for more time. But he's here now, so people just need to tune in and catch the best of him because he's still a top-class player.
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'He was excellent, which he always is. He's one of these lads that you think might get caught on the ball sometimes and he just manages to come out with something to get himself out of it. He's a joy to play with and it's a joy to watch him play. All credit to him.'
Brady is convinced the Republic can build on their opening point to qualify for the knock-out stages ahead of pool games against Belgium and Italy.
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'Yes, 100pc, especially the way we played in the first half pushing forward,' he said. 'If we finish a couple more of them off in the next couple of games...we've shown that we can hurt teams. I'm really looking forward to the next two and I've got really good feelings that we can out of this group.
'I wouldn't say it felt like a defeat. It's a point on the board, but it's disappointing all the same not to see it out. We were quite dominant for a lot of the game and had a lot chances, but we didn't get three points. But it's a point of the board and we go into Saturday's game now and we know that we're a hard team to beat and not many teams will like playing us. We'll be looking for three points in the next couple of games.'