With plenty of Republic of Ireland fans expressing their surprise and frustration that Aston Villa midfielder Conor Hourihane was not selected in the starting line up for their most recent European Championship 2020 qualifier against Switzerland, former right back Alan Hutton has stated that he believes head coach Dean Smith would’ve been secretly delighted with that.
As ever, whilst representing your country is always massive for a player, for (most?) fans, international matches are simply an annoying distraction usually to the club calendar and there’s nothing more irritating than seeing a player head off on duty and then return crocked.
Speaking to Football Insider this week, Hutton claimed that with Hourihane not making the match, even as a substitute, he felt our gaffer would’ve preferred that scenario as it means our 28-year-old returns fit, raring to go and will possibly have a point to make – especially in light of the fact they lost the game 2-0.
“It must be difficult for managers, international week, their players going away, they maybe sit with their head behind a cushion for the games thinking: ‘Will the players come back a-ok?’ Obviously I know Conor, he’ll want to play every minute for both Ireland and Villa but these things happen. On one hand for Villa, you can see it that he’s played brilliant in his last game, he’s come back fit, he’s obviously still training, he’ll be raring to go and he’ll want to put in a shift for Villa now because he’ll be disappointed he didn’t play the other night.”