INPHO Eamo and Wes.
# His biggest fan
Dunphy: 'Players like Wes have gone out of fashion, unless you’re Lionel Messi'
The 35-year-old has today called time on his international career.

AS ONE OF Wes Hoolahan’s staunchest supporters, Eamon Dunphy has taken great pride in championing his fellow Dubliner for several years.

RTÉ pundit Dunphy was regularly up in arms when the little schemer’s name didn’t appear on the Ireland teamsheet and it comes as little surprise that he has been out singing Hoolahan’s praises this morning.

At 35, the Norwich City man has today announced his retirement from international football.

Criminally underused by Ireland, the attacking midfielder still managed 43 caps and three goals — including one against Sweden at Euro 2016.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio One’s Morning Ireland, Dunphy spoke glowingly about a player he first met as a 12-year-old.

“I loved how clever he was, how brave he was to get on the ball in difficult situations,” said Dunphy. “He had the guile and the vision to open up defences.

“If you remember that great moment when Ireland beat Italy in the Euros, he was involved with Robbie Brady and it was classic Wes. He played a pinpoint pass from 40 yards, Robbie ran and headed the goal in over-time and we were through to the knockout stages. That was one moment.

“If you were to put together his showreel, it’s wonderful. Wonderful precision on the ball, support to other players — he was a fabulous player.

I think the crowd loved him because he was reminiscent of a different era, he was a street footballer. He had the same skillset as Lionel Messi, although I’m not suggesting he was as good as Messi. A little wriggle of the hips and he had lost you, the little deft touch here and there. He was a joy to watch.”

Dunphy added: ”I actually presented him with a trophy when he was 12, down around the north inner city where he’s from. He learned his skills on the street like many of the best players — Liam Brady and John Giles and people like that.

“He was a very good League of Ireland player and he had a chequered career in England because he played during a time when the first quality people looked for was someone who won’t make mistakes and someone who’s physically strong.

“Players like Wes have gone out of fashion unless you’re Lionel Messi.

“I think the Irish fans loved him when he played at the Aviva and lamented the fact that he didn’t get more game time.”

Listen to the full Morning Ireland interview here:

RTĖ Sport / SoundCloud

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Wes Hoolahan announces his retirement from international football

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