WES HOOLAHAN, in his testimonial 10nth season at Norwich City, is already relishing the opportunity to work with new Canaries boss Daniel Farke, the ex-Borussia Dortmund coach.
The Irish midfield star who has a year to run on his Carrow Road contract can’t wait for Norwich City’s Championship season to kick-off cross channel as they make a big push to secure a return to the megabucks Premier League.
The Dubliner and former Shelbourne player captained Norwich to a 5-0 pre-season win over Cobh Ramblers in mid-week. And after receiving a standing ovation for 45 minutes football he spoke to the media afterwards.
“It was a good 45 minutes for me and all the lads got a half each and we did well. It was a good start for us to pre-season and we head off to Germany for four more games over there next week.
“It’s great that we are playing good football under the new gaffer. We press well and we move the ball well and so far it’s been very good. It’s nice for us to get away to a training camp like this at Fota and I can see why so many English clubs come over to Cork because the facilities are all top class. I have been here before with the Irish team using it as a training base and they look after you so well. It helps to break up the pre-season schedule as well,” said Hoolahan.
“I never got the chance to play here in Cobh when I was with Shelbourne but it was a nice experience. We are looking to get promoted, get in the top six and try to get back up to the Premier League where we feel we belong. We have been out of it for two seasons now and the intention is to go back up. That’s the aim, that’s what we want to achieve and we didn’t do so last year finishing in eighth place,” he told me.
“It was disappointing to say the least but hopefully we can push on now with a new manager in place, new structures, a new football philosophy and new ambitions.
We have a good squad and we’ve held on to the majority of last year’s squad and with a few additions we will stand a great chance.
“The new man wants us to play attacking football and he comes from a good background at Borussia Dortmund. He wants us to pass and move it and take teams on.
I hope he might suit my style better and from working with him in the last few days it’s been really enjoyable,” said Weso.
“I don’t mind where I play once I’m in the team. If I play on the wing I like to get involved and I come in off the line and get in the pockets. The gaffer knows I can play on the left or right or in the ‘hole’ behind the front man.”
It’s a big year for Hoolahan and the Republic of Ireland too with World Cup qualification on the horizon with four big games to go against Georgia, Serbia, Moldova and Wales.
“It’s a big year for me with Ireland and we have four big games coming up away to Georgia on September 2, home Serbia on September 5 and then home to Moldova and away to Wales in Cardiff in October.
“We need to get a few more results to get to the finals in Russia. I hope we can get all the results we need to go to the finals. I have a sneaking feeling our World Cup qualification bid will go right down to the last game with Wales in Cardiff on October 9.
“The smaller venue will effect the fans okay and make tickets harder to come by but we will go there with the same mentality and hope to get the win that we will probably need to go to the finals,” added Hoolahan who hasn’t given much thought to ending his playing career back in Dublin.