Wes Hoolahan rumours refuse to go away after Paul Lambert describes Norwich City midfielder as a “fantastic” player

Wes Hoolahan. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Wes Hoolahan. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert has described Norwich City playmaker Wes Hoolahan as a 'fantastic' player, as rumours of the Irishman moving to the Midlands refuse to go away.

The former Canaries boss also said he doesn't think his frosty relationship with the Carrow Road hierarchy would affect any potential Hoolahan transfer.

Lambert was speaking at a press conference at Villa's Bodymoor Heath training ground ahead of Monday night's Premier League clash with Arsenal at Villa Park.

The Scot has already spoken of his need to sign a creative player in the 'number 10' role but City boss Chris Hughton dismissed the speculation at his pre-match press conference yesterday.

Chief executive David McNally had also dismissed rumours that Hoolahan had handed in a transfer request and goalkeeper John Ruddy has also spoken about his desire for the Ireland international to stay.

Lambert added fresh fuel to the fire today though, despite initially saying: 'There is no point in me talking about other people's players when they're still at their clubs and I won't disrespect anyone on that front.'

However Lambert then went on to talk about when he had previously managed Hoolahan at Livingston.

'I had him [Hoolahan] for three years, I brought him to Scotland when I was up there so I've known what he's like for years,' Lambert said.

'When I was manager of Norwich he was fantastic, he really was a big, big player but he's Norwich's player so there's no point talking about him.'

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Lambert's acrimonious exit from Carrow Road is thought to have left a sour taste for McNally and City's chairman Alan Bowkett.

But Lambert added he didn't see why that should cause a problem, saying: 'I had a really good time there, enjoyed a lot of success, so I wouldn't have thought so. They're two separate things.'

Talking more broadly about Villa's current transfer window efforts, Lambert indicated there had been little joy for the Midlands club so far, but revealed Stephen Ireland could make his loan move to Stoke permanent.

Lambert said: 'There are lads out there we have looked at and tried, but it just hasn't been possible. There is not really any great update.

'There are lads there we have identified that could bring experience to help the younger ones, but some you just can't do.'

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