Wes Hoolahan targets World Cup boost to make up for Norwich City’s Championship woes

Wes Hoolahan is on international duty. 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Wes Hoolahan is on international duty. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

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Wes Hoolahan aims to take his Norwich City frustrations out on the international stage when he features for the Republic of Ireland over the coming days.

Hoolahan is in the US for a New Jersey friendly against Mexico in the early hours of Friday morning as Martin O’Neill’s men tune up for a crucial World Cup qualifier next week against Austria.

The Canaries’ newly-crowned player-of-the-season missed out on Championship promotion to cap a 12 months that started with a starring role at Euro2016.

Hoolahan scored in the opening group game against Sweden in France last summer and will be a key figure again as the Irish look to move a step closer to the World Cup finals in Russia.

“That goal against Sweden was one of those surreal moments. You dream about that and in my first game at that level I managed to catch it sweetly on my right foot,” said Hoolahan. “It was great experience for me and Robbie (Brady).

“The next two games will prep us well. I imagine the Championship boys will get a run out in New York and then the Premier League boys will come back in at Dublin for the second game, but it is all about the qualifier against Austria. The Wales game (the last qualifier) we were great without getting the win and if we beat Austria then we are in a strong position. They were very physical and good at their place.”

Hoolahan is showing no signs of fatigue after a gruelling Championship campaign. The Dubliner notched his 50th goal for the Canaries last season, including a stunning long range effort against Nottingham Forest.

“Sometimes they end up in row Z or the back of the net, and luckily it was the latter,” he said

“In training you try these things. When I was playing in the park or on the street in a five a side as a youngster you would try those things because you knew you would not get slaughtered. That is where I learned to play, more or less. It was nice it worked out.

“The Championship is one of the most demanding leagues in Europe, but players enjoy that more than training every week. The games come thick and fast and it is like anything else if you are winning games you want them to come around. If you are losing then it can become tougher.”

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