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Norwich City boss Chris Hughton backs Anthony Pilkington’s Irish choice

PUBLISHED: 13:34 17 December 2012

Anthony Pilkington opens the scoring for Norwich City. Picture: Paul Chesterton / Focus Images

Anthony Pilkington opens the scoring for Norwich City. Picture: Paul Chesterton / Focus Images

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Chris Hughton believes Anthony Pilkington will not regret pledging his international allegiance to the Republic of Ireland.

The City midfielder opened the scoring with his third home goal in a row before returning the favour to set up Wes Hoolahan for the match-winner – all in front of watching Republic assistant Marco Tardelli.

Pilkington himself confirmed afterwards he is now ready to represent the land of his grandmother, having made one U21 international appearance for the Emerald Isle.

Hughton was part of the Irish squad at both the 1988 European Championships and the 1990 World Cup and the City boss would be delighted if a New Year call came.

“Where we are at the moment is there has been no call-up for Anthony into any official squad. Until that happens, we’re in exactly the same position we have been,” said Hughton. “Any way that it happens, I’m always delighted for any player to be involved at international level.

“It enhances their career and it can be some real high moments in their career. Yes (I chose the Republic), and for me it was a wonderful decision that I never, ever regretted. Anthony is a very mature young man and any big decisions he has to make, he’s very capable of making. If it happens, I’ll be delighted for him but that’s always going to be down to him.”

Pilkington’s latest goalscoring display underlined his residual value to the Canaries in a vibrant outing marred only by a highly-questionable first-half yellow card for simulation.

“I thought it was very harsh,” said Hughton. “He has no option. I think he has been caught but even if he hasn’t there is no option but to go down. He has to avoid the lad’s legs.

“No, I thought it was a very poor decision. It shouldn’t be a surprise he is scoring because he has that type of ability – he is a good striker of the ball with left and right foot. You need that ability within a team, whoever you are.”

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