Wes Hoolahan caught in Robbie Savage crossfire...but does he have a point?
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Robbie Savage talks a lot.
Sometimes he talks a lot of sense.
Sometimes he talks a lot of rubbish.
But as a former Premier League and international footballer with Wales his comments carry a certain amount of weight.
His recent comments around Ireland's reliance on Wes Hoolahan contain a lot of truth. However, they also show a degree of ignorance around Norwich City's talisman.
Responding to criticism of Martin O'Neill decision to leave out Hoolahan following Ireland's 1-1 draw against Georgia, Savage said: 'If he can pick a pass regularly, I'm sure he'd start every game for Norwich in the Championship.'
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In this instance Savage defeats his own argument in the very same sentence.
As the former midfielder points out, Hoolahan is 35 – how many players in their mid-30s start in every single Championship match? If Hoolahan were even five years younger then Daniel Farke would have him as one of the first names on the teamsheet. But time waits for no man and it is isn't an option that's open to the German. To also argue that Hoolahan can't pick a pass is ridiculous.
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But Savage goes on to make a valid point around Ireland's apparent reliance on the former Blackpool man. He can't figure out exactly why a nation of Ireland's size is so dependent on an ageing footballer in English football's second tier and how only a fit Seamus Coleman would be the only Ireland player to get into a first choice Wales XI. You can't really argue with any of that.
It is Savage's job to be outspoken and whenever he opens his mouth he rarely fails to grab attention. How many more people now know about the package television channel eir Sport have been pushing as a result of his comments?
Controversy is the currency he deals in and his television bosses will have raised a toast to him for the inevitable awareness his comments managed to drum up.
Perhaps there's even more to it than that though. Ireland boss O'Neill helped mould Savage into a Premier League midfielder during their three years together at Leicester – criticism of his mentor wouldn't have gone down well with him. Just as any sort of criticism of Hoolahan doesn't go down well with Norwich fans.