I’d like to say that I’m continually surprised by Wesley Hoolahan’s constant absence from the Republic of Ireland squad but then I’m reminded that the manager prefers cloggers like Paul Green and Keith Andrews and everything makes sense.
Hoolahan is not the first creative Irish player to have fallen foul of Giovanni Trapattoni’s negative tactics, and he probably won’t be the last, but it is incredibly frustrating to see a guy who is working wonders in the Championship omitted altogether.
His involvement with the senior national team to date is easily memorised and comprises of one substitute appearance against Colombia in 2008 and a B team cap against Scotland in 2007.
As a Shelbourne fan I saw in person young ‘Weso’ run rings around League of Ireland defences between 2000 and 2006 before he got his magic plane ticket across the water.
His first stop was Scottish Premier League side Livingston but it wasn’t long before he headed south to Blackpool on loan. He was a huge success at Bloomfield Road, and eventually joined permanently on a two year deal.
In 2008 Glenn Roeder’s Norwich City paid an undisclosed amount for Hoolahan and his performances immediately endeared him to the Carrow Road faithful. Originally a winger, he was utilised as an attacking central midfielder by Roeder’s replacement as manager, Paul Lambert, and scored 13 times in the first half of the 2009/10 campaign. Norwich won promotion back to the Championship at the end of the season, and Hoolahan made the PFA’s League One Team of the Year.
So far this season he has made 34 appearances for the Canaries and scored an impressive 10 goals. On 28 December 2010, he scored a hattrick having come on as a substitute against Sheffield United and signed a new three and a half year deal in January to remain at the club until 2014.
At 28, it looks like Weso may have missed the international boat and it is a great shame that we probably won’t get to see him show his undeniable talents on the world stage alongside fellow League of Ireland graduates Kevin Doyle and Keith Fahey.