Wes Hoolahan is already eyeing the battles ahead with Alex Pritchard, James Maddison and co at Norwich City – just don’t assume he will happily give up full and regular involvement next season
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Player of the season Wes Hoolahan is already prepared for the battle to feature next term – and Norwich City will benefit.
A ninth campaign finally brought the Barry Butler Memorial Trophy into the arms of the 34-year-old.
Yet with Alex Pritchard finishing the season like the player City's new head coach will want to build his 2017-18 side around, it already whets the appetite for what awaits the other side of summer.
Just don't expect Hoolahan to accept his lot as a bit-part player from the off.
'Alex has done brilliant, he has really blossomed in that role,' said Hoolahan of the 24-year-old.
'I know I'm coming on in my age but I have a hunger to do well. I'm not going to say, 'you can have my place in the team'. I'm obviously going to work hard and he will work hard as well.
'Like anybody on the team, we want to work hard to move on together and win games. If it is a little part or a big part, I am more than happy. And his young legs drive me on! There's James Maddison coming through as well. James has got real quality, which you see in training every day and to have those two number 10s in our squad is brilliant.
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'It will be my 10th season, the hunger is still there, I want to do well. With a new head coach coming in, he will have new ideas and new ambitions, and hopefully we all push in the right direction and get promoted.'
Hoolahan knows all too well the difference that can be made to a player's season by their manager's opinion of them.
'We know it was a bad season for us and it only makes us hungry to do well next season,' added Hoolahan. 'A new man is going to come in with new ideas and change it around, and we look forward to it.
'Listen, we're all playing for places now. The new manager comes in and we'll need to give 100pc. No one's job is safe at the moment because he has different ideas. We all have to come in pre-season ready to go, and ready for a season in the Championship.'
Of course, Hoolahan did at least sign off this season in style – two goals, two assists and that player of the season title. He added: 'I wanted double figures in assists. Cam (Jerome) assisted me at the end and said that was for all the assists this season, so it was nice to get one off Cam.'