Norwich City talisman Wes Hoolahan to be unleashed against Aston Villa
©Focus Images Limited www.focus-images.co.uk +447814 482222
Wes Hoolahan will be unleashed on Aston Villa on Monday but that is no reflection on Vadis Odjidja's encouraging first Premier League start for Norwich City at White Hart Lane.
Alex Neil kept both Hoolahan and Gary O’Neil under wraps as a precautionary measure with the festive leg of City’s top flight season in full swing.
Odjidja was deployed in that creative attacking role behind Cameron Jerome and was prominent during the opening quarter before Tottenham took firm control in a 3-0 victory. The Belgian tested Hugo Lloris early on and Neil felt the 26-year-old proved he can operate on the big stage.
“I thought he did well,” he said. “As the game wore on he started to fatigue a little bit, as you can imagine because he has not played a huge amount of football, but I think he showed his quality at times and was unfortunate not to score in the first half. There is no question he has quality and he didn’t do his chances any harm. It was a good opportunity for me to have a look at him.”
City’s squad trained on Sunday ahead of the Villans’ visit. Andre Wisdom and new signing Matt Jarvis were both absent at Tottenham and O’Neil looks to have a better chance of returning against Villa, in addition to Hoolahan’s recall.
“Gary wasn’t quite ready to make it but I did bear in mind the fact he can’t quite do two games in three days and Wes was similar,” said Neil. “If I had played Wes then he wouldn’t have played on Monday and that game I feel suits him. Gary O’Neil is a different situation. He wasn’t quite ready so we had to give him an extra day’s rest.”
Wisdom did not feature at either Tottenham or Manchester United after picking up a hamstring injury in the last Carrow Road home draw against Everton. Jarvis returned to light training ahead of Christmas following his knee lay-off.