Norwich City trio on Republic of Ireland’s watch-list

Republic of Ireland coach Marco Tardelli last night revealed that Norwich City trio Wes Hoolahan, Anthony Pilkington and Marc Tierney are firmly on his international radar.

The former World Cup winner, who was at Carrow Road to see the Canaries take on Arsenal, admitted he and Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni were weighing up all their options with regards to their final 23-man Euro2012 squad.

It leaves the door open for an international return for Hoolahan who won his only senior cap under Trapattoni in 2008 in a friendly against Colombia.

'I know him (Hoolahan) from two or three years ago when we arrived in Ireland. He is a good player, good quality, a skilful player and I think now more experienced than three years ago,' said Tardelli, who has watched Hoolahan become one of the key players in City's success story.

It's Hoolahan's ability to play a creative midfield role or as support to a lone striker in a 4-5-1 formation that works well in his favour.


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Clearly, a lot will rest on the 29-year-old Dubliner's performances for the Canaries if he is to break into the squad as the only international friendly lined up, possibly against England, is in February. The other warm-up matches come too close to the actual tournament for much experimentation.

'He (Hoolahan) can play in midfield but he can also play as the second striker. He sometimes plays in this position for Norwich which I think is good. Having many options is very good because there are many good young players and it is good for the team,' said Tardelli, who as well as weighing up who might feature in the team for the February friendly also admitted the Ireland management keep a constant eye on what goes on at Carrow Road.

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He added: 'We follow all players and we decide, Giovanni decides, when will be the right moment.

'Maybe it is possible they could play in the friendly but I cannot say for sure. They know that we follow them, if they play everything is possible.'

While all three City players will potentially be hoping to break into the Ireland squad for next year's Euro Championship Tardelli also admitted he sees the likes of Pilkington, 23, and Tierney, 26, as the future.

Midfielder Pilkington has also worn the green shirt before, winning a solitary Under-21 cap against Lithuania in 2008, while left-back Tierney is also eligible.

'The Norwich team they are good players also Pilkington and Tierney is a good player. For us and the international team it is very good because they are young players for the future.'

The Republic of Ireland, who qualified for their first major finals since the 2002 World Cup, are in the fourth group of seeds alongside Denmark, the Czech Republic and France.

That means they cannot face the French, who knocked them out in a controversial World Cup qualification play-off two years ago, in the group stages.

There will be 16 teams in Poland and Ukraine, divided into four pots for the draw in Kiev on Friday, December 2, at 5pm.

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