Date: 6th September 2017 at 5:34pm
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Robbie Savage has raised his head above the parapet in vocal support of his old Leicester manager, Martin O’Neill after Eamon Dunphy gave a stinging assessment of him on Irish broadcaster RTE on Tuesday night.

Dunphy is a long standing critic of O’Neill and his assistant Roy Keane and their failure to play Wes Hoolahan in every game for the Republic of Ireland.

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Sorry about the picture, but Dunphy is on the left of this panel of pundits – it’s the best pic I could find, other than of him in his old playing days.

At the weekend, the Republic drew 1-1 away in Georgia with Hoolahan not selected. There was talk that Wes had a groin strain but he allayed those fears after O’Neill gave him a starting berth against Serbia on Tuesday night.

The ROI were beaten 0-1 by the Serbs with a Kolorov goal the decider and Wes was replaced on 62 minutes by Daryl Murphy as O’Neill decided to go direct.

Savage apparently saw Dunphy ranting about O’Neill and not playing in his post-match comments on RTE and took to Twitter to ask his followers who Dunphy was.

“I only found out who he was on social media,” he said as reported by The Irish Independent

“I don’t get his TV station in my house, I have never seen him play football, I don`t know him. I was at my hotel last night after watching the Wales games, I flicked over to RTÉ to see this gentleman, well presented, and I just put a message on twitter asking who he was.

“My timeline went crazy and I was trending in Ireland on Twitter a few minutes later, but no disrespect, I had to Google him to see who he was. I`m not being rude, but I didn`t know who he was.”

Savage is now a pundit for BT Sport and has never been short of an opinion as anyone who has listened to his BBC Radio 5 Live ‘606’ show will testify.

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However, as I often find with pundits who talk about a supposedly specialist subject, they don’t always know the details of what they are talking about. Coupled with his defence of O’Neill, something I’ve heard him do before, it makes for interesting reading.

‘He was saying that if Wes Hoolahan started against Georgia, Ireland would have got three points, which I find absolutely bizarre’ Savage said.

‘Wes Hoolahan has played the majority of his career in the Championship and you are telling me he would win a game in Georgia? Eamon Dunphy suggests a guy who can’t get into the Norwich side every week is good enough to win an international game on his own…what that’s just nonsense.

‘Wes Hoolahan is nice with the ball, but the emphasis on a 35 year old from that particular pundit was just bizarre. I am not having a go at Wes Hoolahan because it’s not his fault, but if Eamon Dunphy talks about him all the time and thinks he can pick out the perfect pass, surely he would be starting for Norwich every week?

‘Anyone can go on the radio and TV and hammer people. It’s the easiest thing in the world to do, but back it up with facts. I talk nonsense at times, but what I saw on Irish TV last night…wow.’

Now, I’m glad you’ve admitted that you talk nonsense at times, Robbie because that’s what some of those comments are.

Yes, this is a Norwich City fan blog and I (we) love Wes Hoolahan over here. I accept that Savage is a big fan of O’Neill and rates him as a manager because he had a very successful period of his career under him in the Premier League. To that end, he’s going to think highly of his old gaffer.

Dare I say though that that might be colouring his view of the current era O’Neill and his managerial efforts for the ROI?

Savage suggests that Wes has played the ‘majority of his career in the Championship’. True, but he has played four of the last six seasons in the Premier League.

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He also says that ‘if he can pick out the perfect pass, surely he would be starting for Norwich every week?’ Well, I hate to break it to you Robbie but he has been a regular fixture in the Norwich starting XI for years. This season, after suffering an injury in pre-season, he has made seven appearances for City, albeit not all starting appearances because he didn’t have a full pre-season.

Despite that though, he came off the bench on the first day of the season and picked out the ‘perfect pass’ for Nelson Oliveira to equalise at Fulham.

Last season, he made 33 appearances for Norwich City and the season before that he made 30 appearances in the Premier League.

More often than not, if he is fit and taking his age into account, he is playing for Norwich.

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Dunphy is making the same argument that Norwich fans had with Chris Hughton, the darling of the pundits, when he often benched Wes wrongly believing he wasn’t physical enough to compete in the top flight.

Hughton chose strength and athleticism over skill and guile, like O’Neill often does and Trappattoni certainly did before him. Dunphy said after the Georgia game that ‘Glen Whelan gives us nothing, while Wes Hoolahan gives us quite a lot.’

Whelan is a solid, destructive type of player who will run all day but is short on ‘perfect passes.’ Remind you of anyone?

If you want to talk perfect passes, you only have to look at the pass that Wes put on Robbie Brady’s head in the last minute against Italy in the last European Championships that Brady headed past Gianluigi Buffon.

What Dunphy is so upset about is that the Irish have a player in their midst that was overlooked for the best years of his career by Trappattoni and is for the Irish, like Norwich for many years, the only player capable of picking a defence apart with the ball on the ground.

Wes Hoolahan isn’t the answer to every question in football but like I said the other day, we’ll miss him when he’s gone and so will the Irish national team.

As for Savage, he’d be better off doing his research.