Martin O'Neill & John Delaney pay tribute to 'gifted' Wes Hoolahan

BY Stephen Doyle 16:46 Thursday 8 February 2018, 16:46 8 Feb 2018

Martin O'Neill embraces Wes Hoolahan after WCQ draw vs Austria in Dublin last year - ©INPHO/James Crombie

Republic of Ireland boss Martin O'Neill has paid tribute to Wes Hoolahan in the wake of his international retirement while FAI chief executive John Delaney has hailed the Dubliner as "one of the most technically gifted players" ever to play for the Boys in Green.

The 35-year-old midfielder announced his decision to end his playing days with Ireland following a career in which he won 43 caps with 35 of those earned on O'Neill's watch.

Hoolahan was the third most used player under the current boss who today recalled that famous afternoon in Paris when Ireland played Sweden at Euro 2016.

"Wes phoned me last week to let me know about retiring from international football. I remember, with great fondness, his outstanding performance and wonderful goal, against Sweden in Paris during the EUROs.

"His desire to play for his country was immeasurable and he was a delight to work with over the past four years. Naturally, I wish Wes the very best of luck with his career at club level."

Hoolahan's still plying his trade with English Championship club Norwich City where he moved to in 2008 from Blackpool but FAI CEO John Delaney was keen to highlight his club years back at home.

"There is no doubt in my mind that Wes Hoolahan will be remembered as one of the most technically gifted players ever to pull on the Ireland jersey," said Delaney.

"I think a lot of credit should go to both Belvedere and Shelbourne, who helped to develop a talented kid into a skilled professional who would go on to score that superb goal against Sweden in the Stade de France at EURO 2016.

"Wes made his name in the League of Ireland with a fantastic Shelbourne side and he was always proud of that. I think he is the perfect role model for young players aspiring to reach the top because he worked hard for everything that he got and embraced his time representing his country.

"We would like to pay tribute to Wes at the Aviva Stadium for his contribution to Irish football, at a time that suits him. Wes and his family are welcome to the Aviva Stadium at any time."

A former Under 21 and B international, Hoolahan started 24 of his 43 senior appearances with his first cap coming as a Blackpool player.

Wes Hoolahan International Career
Caps: 43
Goals: 3
Debut: v Colombia, London, May 29, 2008
First Goal: v Poland, Aviva Stadium, February 6, 2013

List of Games Played
29/05/2008: Ireland 1-0 Colombia, London
14/11/2012: Ireland 0-1 Greece, Aviva Stadium
06/02/2013: Ireland 2-0 Poland, Aviva Stadium
22/03/2013: Sweden 0-0 Ireland, Stockholm
02/06/2013: Ireland 4-0 Georgia, Aviva Stadium
07/06/2013: Ireland 3-0 Faroe Islands, Aviva Stadium
14/08/2013: Wales 0-0 Ireland, Cardiff
15/10/2013: Ireland 3-1 Kazakhstan, Aviva Stadium
15/11/2013: Ireland 3-0 Latvia, Aviva Stadium
19/11/2013: Poland 0-0 Ireland, Poznan
05/03/2014: Ireland 1-2 Serbia, Aviva Stadium
25/05/2014: Ireland 1-2 Turkey, Aviva Stadium
31/05/2014: Ireland 0-0 Italy, London
07/06/2014: Ireland 1-1 Costa Rica, Philadelphia
10/06/2014: Ireland 1-5 Portugal, New York
03/09/2014: Ireland 2-0 Oman, Aviva Stadium
11/10/2014: Ireland 7-0 Gibraltar, Aviva Stadium
14/10/2014: Ireland 1-1 Germany, Aviva Stadium
29/03/2015: Ireland 1-1 Poland, Aviva Stadium
13/06/2015: Ireland 1-1 Scotland, Aviva Stadium
04/09/2015: Gibraltar 0-4 Ireland, Faro
07/09/2015: Ireland 1-0 Georgia, Aviva Stadium
08/10/2015: Ireland 1-0 Germany, Aviva Stadium
11/10/2015: Poland 2-1 Ireland, Warsaw
13/11/2015: Bosnia & Herzegovina 1-1 Ireland, Zenica
16/11/2015: Ireland 2-0 Bosnia & Herzegovina, Aviva Stadium
25/03/2016: Ireland 1-0 Switzerland, Aviva Stadium
29/03/2016: Ireland 2-2 Slovakia, Aviva Stadium
27/05/2016: Ireland 1-1 Netherlands, Aviva Stadium
31/05/2016: Ireland 1-2 Belarus, Turner's Cross
13/06/2016: Ireland 1-1 Sweden, Paris
18/06/2016: Belgium 3-0 Ireland, Bordeaux
22/06/2016: Italy 0-1 Ireland, Lille
26/06/2016: France 2-1 Ireland, Lyon
31/08/2016: Ireland 4-0 Oman, Aviva Stadium
09/10/2016: Moldova 1-3 Ireland, Chisinau
12/11/2016: Austria 0-1 Ireland, Vienna
01/06/2017: Mexico 3-1 Ireland, New Jersey
04/06/2017: Ireland 3-1 Uruguay, Aviva Stadium
11/06/2017: Ireland 1-1 Austria, Aviva Stadium
05/09/2017: Ireland 0-1 Serbia, Aviva Stadium
06/10/2017: Ireland 2-0 Moldova, Aviva Stadium
14/11/2017: Ireland 1-5 Denmark, Aviva Stadium

List of Goals Scored
06/02/2013: Ireland 2-0 Poland, Aviva Stadium
11/10/2014: Ireland 7-0 Gibraltar, Aviva Stadium 
13/06/2016: Ireland 1-1 Sweden, Paris

Off The Ball

Newsletter

The very best bits of Off The Ball delivered every week