Wes Hoolahan still producing magic at 38 years of age

Wes Hoolahan

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The former Ireland international has been instrumental in helping Cambridge United to the top of League Two.

As a 38-year-old midfielder who’s been playing regular football for the good part of 20 years, you would expect Wes Hoolahan to slowly fade into retirement at this stage of his career.

He only played a total of 11 league games between two seasons for West Bromwich Albion and Newcastle Jets. So, when Cambridge United announced his signing, there wasn’t much expected of Hoolahan who was seen by many as past it or crocked.

Well, Hoolahan has gone on to prove his doubters wrong, endearing himself to Cambridge United fans as somewhat of a cult hero in the process.

Hoolahan has been one of his side’s most impressive performers this season which currently sees them sat at 1st in the EFL League Two table. The U’s weren’t seen as promotion contenders at the start of the season, having finished at a modest 16th place the previous season. So, for them to be top of the league with just 4 games remaining is quite the achievement.

“Wessi”, as he’s affectionately known by Norwich City, Ireland and now Cambridge United fans, has contributed an impressive 8 assists and 5 goals in 33 league games this season. He’s been so awe-inspiring that he won League Two Player of the Month in January, and could well be on his way to a Team of the Year inclusion.

Yesterday, he assisted the winner in what could be a season-defining 3 points for Cambridge.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR WESSI?

I’m sure many people would like to see Hoolahan return to the Ireland fold, particularly given the lack of creativity within the team currently. Realistically, that won’t happen, though.

It doesn’t seem likely that he’ll hang up his boots at the end of this season given his ability is still very much evident. At the same time, time isn’t on his side and it’s not very often you see footballers enjoy career longevity like Hoolahan has.

A farewell season in League One – assuming that Cambridge will achieve promotion – could be on the cards for Hoolahan in what’s been a storied career for one of the most overlooked players of the 21st century.

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