WES HOOLAHAN CAN state his case for an international future when he finally gets his chance against Greece.
Hoolahan, 30, won his only Irish cap as a second-half substitute in a friendly against Colombia in May 2008.
Now after more than four years in exile, the Dubliner is back in Giovanni Trapattoni’s squad after his playmaking performances with Norwich City convinced the Italian that he is worthy of a recall.
Trapattoni is known for sticking to a traditional 4-4-2 formation while Hoolahan is most comfortable in a creative role behind a lone striker.
But the manager promised that Hoolahan will get at least 45 minutes in Wednesday night’s friendly in the Aviva Stadium and can convince him then that he can be valuable alternative.
“We look to renew the team with the young – James McCarthy and these – but we always follow Hoolahan because he plays well with [Norwich],” he said yesterday.
“We thought he deserved this opportunity because of his quality with one striker.
I choose two strikers because I think this team needs this situation to score goals, but in this moment, it is right to give him this opportunity.
He deserves it but it is also an opportunity. Maybe we will play the next game with this situation and we can watch what happens with this system — one striker, one midfield and two offensive players.
Trapattoni was at the DW Stadium on Saturday to watch James McCarthy and Shane Long in Wigan’s 2-1 defeat against West Brom.
Much like Hoolahan, McCarthy was given a chance to impress when he started in midfield for Ireland’s post-Euro 2012 friendly against Serbia. The 21-year-old has started every game since and Trapattoni says that he’s growing into one of the squad’s key figures.
“Since the first game he improved very, very much. He brings his personality to this team and I think he can do more.
He can conduct play a lot in midfield. He watches before the ball comes and plays it simple. If he continues to improve, I think he will be a great player for us.
Another youngster who is likely to feature at some stage on Wednesday night is Manchester United winger Robbie Brady, who returned to Hull City last week for a second spell on loan at the Championship club.
Trapattoni feels it’s a good move for Brady who will be playing a higher standard of football than if he was lining out in the United reserves. If he continues to improve, Trap says, Brady has every chance of breaking into the United squad.
“Ferguson tried him also at right back and left back but maybe he’s not ready for this position. Maybe he’ll improve in this position and his confidence.
He’s young. He can play with these great teams.
Manchester don’t want to lose the players. They have good scouts. In the future, if he improves, why not?