Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Wes Hoolahan brings the X-factor for club and country according to Norwich and Republic of Ireland team mate Anthony Pilkington.
Hoolahan has started both City’s last two Premier League matches and the Republic’s recent friendly against Serbia after a turbulent few months for the Dubliner who had a transfer request rejected following interest from Aston Villa. Pilkington insists the 31-year-old has the class and the quality to make his mark over City’s crucial top flight run-in and be a key man in Martin O’Neill’s Irish set-up.
“Wes makes a massive difference to any team when he gets a chance and it’s great to see that he is showing that with Ireland now, he is a player they can build a team around,” he said. “I have played with Wes week in, week out for a few years now. I always knew what he could do but he is finally now getting a chance to show at international level what he is capable of. He did really well in the Serbia game the other night, he got the man of the match award and he deserved it. Hopefully he can keep up that good form in the next few weeks and months for Norwich and then kick on again with Ireland when we come back in May.”
Pilkington’s injury-hit season has limited his own chance to impress for the Irish with the 25-year-old making just nine Premier League starts for the Canaries.
“It has been a very frustrating time for me with Ireland since I first came into the squad,” he told the Irish Herald. “I love meeting up with the squad every chance I get, every time I am in a squad is a chance for me to get my face in there and then try to get onto the pitch and show what I can do. There is a lot of competition for the wide places at the moment, it’s probably one of the hardest positions in the team in terms of breaking in. Hopefully I can get a series of 90-minute games under my belt for Norwich and have a strong finish to the season, and then be in a strong position with Ireland in May (for friendlies).”