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Wes Hoolahan and Norwich back in the big time

SoccerBy Sunday World
Wesley Hoolahan toasts his Wembley glory with Nathan Redmond
Wesley Hoolahan toasts his Wembley glory with Nathan Redmond

Republic of Ireland midfielder Wes Hoolahan is back in the Premier League after his Norwich side secured promotion against Middlesborugh at Wembley.

The clamour for Hoolahan to be handed a key role in the Ireland side for the Euro 2016 qualifier against Scotland next month will gather pace now after he made a mark as a starter in Norwich's 2-0 win at Wembley.

It was a wonderful triumph for 33-year-old Norwich manager Alex Neil, who is only a few days older that Hoolahan and has transformed the Carrow Road club since his move from Hamiliton in January. 

Despite the magnitude of the achievement in such a short space of time, with 17 victories from 25 games, the 33-year-old intends to stay grounded.

"The goal was to gain promotion. We aimed for automatic, it was difficult but we got close, so then it was important that we remained focused," said Neil.

"The thing that drives me is letting people down. The fact that Norwich showed faith in me giving me the job, being so young, a lot was made of that, they showed plenty of courage.

"So I am pleased I have made everybody happy, that means more than anything else and we have sent those fans home happy.

"You see (majority-shareholder) Delia (Smith) on the pitch at the end and it's special. It was about making sure my family is there enjoying the day because the last thing I would want to do is lose and go home with my kids crying."

Neil added: "People have made a lot of the last year, telling me I was at Arbroath in front of 700 fans at the start of the season, but it is not a huge concern to me.

"I set goals and am really determined to achieve them, whether it is Hamilton or Norwich. I don't get overawed by anyone or any place."