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14 November 2016

Canaries playmaker recently spoke exclusively to 'OTBC'

WES Hoolahan joined an elite group players at the start of November, becoming only the 22nd player in history to feature in 300 games for Norwich City.

Reaching the triple-century in our most recent fixture against Leeds United, the 34-year-old spoke exclusively to matchday programme 'OTBC' as part of a special feature on the City talisman's time at the Club. 

An impressive milestone to have achieved, Hoolahan suggests being handed a different role ahead of a League One clash with Charlton Athletic some seven years ago was a key moment in his career.

"Paul Lambert pulled me in to tell me playing on the left-wing might not be the best position for me," he explained when reflecting on something of a personal reinvention.  

"He said playing in the centre would suit me better as I'd see more of the ball. I'd never even thought of playing in the hole until Paul asked me to do it, and he was right.

"I'd always thought of myself as a left-winger. I grew up playing there, and played there at Blackpool under Simon Grayson.

"Back when I started it was nearly always 4-4-2 and there was no room to play in the hole. Now it feels like it's always been my natural position and since then my career has got better and better through the years."

Internationally, he has grown in authority; playing a starring role at Euro 2016 by netting superbly against Sweden before laying on a crucial assist for Robbie Brady versus Italy to take Ireland to the knockout stages.

Attention is now set on qualification for the 2018 World Cup, with the playmaker once again making a telling impact on Saturday by creating James McClean's winner as his side earned their first ever victory in Austria.

That result moved Martin O'Neill's men to 10 points from their opening four matches, and Hoolahan added: "We're in a tough group but we've got a good chance.

"It would definitely be the pinnacle of my career to play at a World Cup. It's the biggest stage against the biggest sides in the world.

"I remember watching the 1990 World Cup, and Ray Houghton scoring that famous goal against Italy. I wanted to be out there running around and scoring or creating a goal one day.

"To be able to do that at the Euros was amazing. The atmosphere in the stadium and then in the dressing room afterwards was just amazing."

Want to read the full eight-page feature on Wes Hoolahan from 'OTBC', plus other exclusive content? You can purchase the Leeds programme HERE.

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The new-look 'OTBC' programme covers everything you need to know about the day's opponents as well as up-to-date news, stats, tables and content. 

It also has a host of new magazine-style features which can be enjoyed outside of matchday. So if you can't make the game but want to read about all things Canaries, or want it delivered straight to your door you can simply subscribe HERE.

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