Football

'The Same Skillset As Messi' - Eamon Dunphy Laments Retirement Of Wes Hoolahan

'The Same Skillset As Messi' - Eamon Dunphy Laments Retirement Of Wes Hoolahan

Jokes about the well-being of Eamon Dunphy abounded on Thursday morning following the retirement of Wes Hoolahan from international football.

Wes had long been Dunphy's cause of choice when analysing Ireland internationals on RTÉ. His absence was lamented and reputation grew as a result.

On Radio One's Morning Ireland, Dunphy spoke to Des Cahill regarding Hoolahan calling time on his career.

"I loved how clever he was, how brave he was to get on the ball in difficult situations and he had the guile and the vision to open up defences," Dunphy said before going on to compare Wes to the greatest player of the day.

If you were to put together, as we often did on RTÉ, his showreel, it's wonderful. Wonderful precision in his passing, support for other players on the ball.

He was a fabulous player and I think the crowd loved him because he was reminiscent of a different era almost, he was a street footballer. A little bit like the same sort of skillset as Lionel Messi - I'm not suggesting he was as good as Lionel Messi but the same skillset.

A little wriggle of the hips and he'd lost you. A little deft tough here and there, he was a joy to watch and I think probably a joy to play with as well.

It seems Dunphy's appreciation for Wes goes back much further than his time in and out of a green jersey.

"I actually presented him with a trophy when he was about 12, around the north inner city where he's from. He learned his skills on the street like many of the best players - John Giles, Liam Brady."

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At one point, such was the extent of Dunphy's praise for Hoolahan, Des Cahill had to inform listeners that Hoolahan had just simply retired and that there was nothing physically wrong with him.

Dunphy added that he believed the 35-year-old had a chequered career in England as the first qualities managers now look for is physicality and someone who doesn't make mistakes. "Players like Wes have gone out of fashion - unless you're Lionel Messi."

He also compared the 43-cap Ireland international to Mo Salah.

If you look at Mo Salah at Liverpool, very like Wes - a lovely left foot, skill, guile, ghosting past opponents. That's the kind of thing Wes had.

You can listen to Eamon Dunphy speaking to Des Cahill on Morning Ireland below.

See Also: Wes Hoolahan Has Retired From International Football

PJ Browne
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