"He wasn't world class but he was our best player in that position"
John Giles and Stuey Byrne have been reflecting on Wes Hoolahan's international retirement20:33 Thursday 8 February 2018, 20:33 8 Feb 2018
John Giles has lamented what he sees as a failure of successive Republic of Ireland managers to "trust" Wes Hoolahan.
The attacking playmaker announced his international retirement earlier today after 40 caps and 3 goals, after spending much of his early career outside the Ireland setup.
The Irish legend is under no illusion that Hoolahan deserved more appearances in a green jersey, saying that his size and weight ultimately went against him.
"They didn't believe in him", said Giles. "I think they saw him as a small guy. Trapattoni made his mind up before he came to us that we were second-rate, and therefore we had to play in a certain way, so he wasn't even going to look at the likes of Wes Hoolahan who was a skillful player as we know."
"Definitely Martin O'Neill didn't believe in him because he's got McCarthy and Whelan in the middle of the field all the time. He played occasionally but every time he played he contributed, and contributed well."
Meanwhile Hoolahan's former teammate at Shelbourne Stuey Byrne joined us on the Newsround in which he shared his memories of playing alongside the midfielder.
Byrne pinpointed Hoolahan's performance against Deportivo La Coruna in the 2004 Champions League qualifiers as a stand-out game, describing his performance at Lansdowne Road that day as "absolutely unbelievable".
"I had the best seat in the house that night. I've often said that my role that evening was to nullify Valeron, so I'm running around like a headless chicken just watching this guy. But anytime I got the ball I just gave it to Wes and just said 'here, there you go' and off he went. I was watching this kid going 'this is just ridiculous'".
Should we be worried about the Euro 2020 qualifiers without a player like Wes in the squad? pic.twitter.com/SWYQSXEEfx— Off The Ball (@offtheball) February 8, 2018
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