Wes Hoolahan retires from international football with the Republic of Ireland

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Republic of Ireland midfielder Wes Hoolahan has announced his retirement from international football at the age of 35.

The Norwich midfielder, who earned 43 caps, has decided the World Cup qualifying campaign which ended with play-off defeat by Denmark in November will be his last with the Republic.

He told the Irish Independent: “It wasn’t a thing for me to get 50 caps. I didn’t think that way. I really enjoyed the Euros in France and after that, I said it would be just one more campaign.

“I enjoyed the last campaign, even though it didn’t end well for us, but this is the right time for me to go.

“It was an honour to play for my country. I have great memories and they will last forever. I grew up dreaming of playing for my country and when that dream came true for me, it was a great honour.”

In the eyes of many Hoolahan, who will celebrate his 36th birthday in May, was chronically under-used for much of his international career.

One of the more naturally gifted players of his generation, he brought an invention to the national team which established him as a fans’ favourite.

He scored Ireland’s opening goal at the Euro 2016 finals in France, notching in a 1-1 draw with Sweden which helped them reach the knockout stage.

However, as Martin O’Neill turned to a new generation for the last campaign, Hoolahan’s chances became increasingly limited.

The Republic boss said: “Wes phoned me last week to let me know about retiring from international football. I remember, with great fondness, his outstanding performance and wonderful goal, against Sweden in Paris during the Euros.

“His desire to play for his country was immeasurable and he was a delight to work with over the past four years.

“Naturally, I wish Wes the very best of luck with his career at club level.”

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