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Forgotten Irish International Makes Himself Available, Wes Hoolahan Considers International Future

Forgotten Irish International Makes Himself Available, Wes Hoolahan Considers International Future
By PJ Browne Updated

Martin O'Neill's striker options for Tuesday's friendly against Slovakia took a hit over the last few days.

Kevin Doyle went off injured with a nasty gash to his leg during Good Friday's game against Switzerland. He subsequently required plastic surgery to repair the damage.

After coming on as a replacement for Doyle in that game, Daryl Murphy was later substituted with just over ten minutes remaining. The Ipswich forward returned to his club with a calf strain.

Jonathan Walters missed the Swiss match due to a hamstring injury, he has also been ruled out of tomorrow evening's game at the Aviva. A knee problem means Robbie Keane - who Martin O'Neill last week stated would start one of the friendlies - cannot take part either.

The accumulation of injuries leaves O'Neill with just Shane Long as an option up front.

If O'Neill was going to call someone up as a replacement, he likely would have done it already. One his options would have been Leon Best.

The Rotherham striker, who has seven caps for Ireland, told the Sunday Times:

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I am travelling back to the UK from Dubai today and I am ready and available if Martin O'Neill needs me.

Best signed for Rotherham back in November making eight appearances in total for the Championship side. In the last two games, the 29-year-old has really come to prominence with three goals. Last weekend, he got the winner in a 1-0 victory away to Ipswich.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KleC9xxecnw

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The weekend previous to that, he came off the bench to aid a remarkable Rotherham comeback from 3-0 down against Derby. Best scored twice - in the 85th and 91st minutes - to rescue a point.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9myjJ2Dgi30

Nottingham born, Best made his Ireland debut in 2009 but has not featured in any of Martin O'Neill's squads during his tenure as Ireland manager.

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After this summer, Martin O'Neill may no longer have Wes Hoolahan as an option. The Norwich player told the Irish Sun that he will consider his international future after Euro 2016.

There are a few senior players in the squad and I’m one of them. I’ll be 34 by the time the Euros are played which means when the next World Cup comes around I am going to be 36.

I haven’t really thought about whether I’ll play on but I will see how the summer goes and probably make a decision then.

Picture credit: Pat Murphy / SPORTSFILE

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