There will be no World Cup swan song for Wes Hoolahan after the Republic Of Ireland were beaten 1-5 at home in the second leg of their play-off by Denmark, last night.
It was a desperately disappointing way for the Republic to end their qualifying campaign and a crazy result too.
Hoolahan started on the bench but replaced David Meyler at half time to little effect with Martin O`Neill opting to play a diamond formation, something that the Denmark coach, Age Hareide was pleased about when he spoke after the game to the media
“I was surprised. They played with a diamond and that gave us lots of space and I just say thank you very much.”
Basically this means the end of Wes Hoolahan`s International career. By the time the Republic play their next competitive game, he will be 36 and will almost certainly have retired or had it forced upon him as a result of old Father Time catching up.
It looks from the outside as though the little magician`s talent has been criminally wasted by those in charge of his national side. Trapattoni and O`Neil predominately but it`s worth pointing out that he didn`t reach the Premier League until the age of 29.
It also looks to me, again from the outside, that he has also been a victim of some of the players around him and not being able to fit into that particular jigsaw. Hoolahan has played less than half the international games that Glen Whelan has and that says it all.
Yes, they are different types of player but perhaps the rigorous tactics of keeping it tight and looking for a long ball to Daryl Murphy is what has cost Ireland and Wes. They have no guile and little flair when Wes Hoolahan doesn`t play.
Perceived as a luxury by many commentators and clearly by coaches too, his talent and technical ability have never been in question. His level of skill has been unparalleled at Carrow Road in his near ten years at the club but perhaps staying at Norwich wasn`t the best for his own career.
We all love Wes, I know I do, no question he`s the most talented player I`ve had the privilege to watch as a City fan but has staying at Norwich held him back?
Having not reached the top flight until he was nearly 30, I`m guessing that put off many suitors from the Premier League. If he had played with better players at a club higher ranked than ours, would he have had a better international career?
We`ll never know.
Hoolahan lit up Euro 2016 for the Irish with a stunning goal against Sweden (with his right foot) and a sublime last minute pass against Italy for Robbie Brady to score the winner but still O`Neill didn`t trust him..
It`s a crying shame in an international career full of would`ve, could`ve and should`ve.
The bottom line is that Wes Hoolahan is a bonefide Norwich City legend. A player that has thrilled and delighted us time and time again over the decade that he has graced Carrow Road, it`s just a huge shame that others couldn`t see it like we do.