Holt believes Hoolahan has made his case to stay
Chris Lakey Has Wes Hoolahan worked himself back into Paul Lambert's plans for Norwich City? The little midfielder certainly believes Carrow Road is where he wants to play his football - and the signs suggest that far from leaving Norfolk, he's ready to stay and help City fight their way back into the Championship.
Has Wes Hoolahan worked himself back into Paul Lambert's plans for Norwich City?
The little midfielder certainly believes Carrow Road is where he wants to play his football - and the signs suggest that far from leaving Norfolk, he's ready to stay and help City fight their way back into the Championship.
The mercurial midfielder looked to be on his way out after being dropped by Lambert, speculation linking him with a move to either Swansea or Watford.
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But the 27-year-old insists: “I'm happy here.”
Hoolahan formed a promising partnership playing just off target man Grant Holt at the weekend, leaving Lambert describing his contribution as “excellent”.
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But it was leading scorer Holt who gave away a major clue as to what the future holds for Hoolahan, whose ability to thrill and frustrate has arguably been his undoing.
“Everyone knows what Wes Hoolahan can do,” said Holt.
“If you give him time and give him space he's an absolute threat - but then the other side that Wes gives you sometimes is he will give the ball away in areas that he shouldn't.
“The position he played in (against Charlton) I think the manager's looking to play him there a little bit more, so he's further up the pitch and hurting other people rather than hurting ourselves.”
Lambert needs goals to complement Holt's contribution - so far only two others strikers, Chris Martin and Cody McDonald, have been on the scoresheet in the league this season, while Hoolahan now has one in the league, two in the Carling Cup and one in two reserve team outings.
The Republic of Ireland international was starting his first game under Lambert at the weekend, but insists that talk of him wanting to leave is wide of the mark.
“It's been disappointing, but I have to work hard at my game and it's just great to play,” he said. “Obviously I haven't been playing the last few games, but now I've played I'm happy about that.
“I'm happy here, you know.”
So what was he doing wrong?
“I wasn't doing anything wrong, I was trying hard, I worked hard. It hurts when you're not playing in the team. I love playing football and it's just great to be playing at the moment.
“You believe in your ability and that's what gets you through.
“Obviously you can play if you just work hard enough. His (Lambert's) team tactics are spot on and it's just a pleasure to play with them.”
Previous managers have tended to play Hoolahan wide left, but the early signs suggest him and Holt can hit it off: it was their quick thinking which led to City's first goal on Saturday, when Holt took a quick throw straight into Hoolahan's path - and two touches later it was in the back of the net.
“It was a great throw-in by Holty, quick thinking and I was happy enough it hit the back of the net,” said Hoolahan. “Holty is a great player, he is going to win everything more or less, he's strong and he has a great touch on the ball. It's a pleasure to play with him.”