Eamon Dunphy's Messi comment over Wes Hoolahan is exactly the problem
Eamon Dunphy doesn't help.
Wes Hoolahan doesn't need to be as good as Messi or Zidane to fit the argument of those who say he should've played more games for Ireland. All he has to do is be good enough to play for Ireland.
Is he better than some midfielders in the Irish squad? Is he better than McGeady? Is he more influential than others and had more impact when he's been allowed to play? Is there anybody else who can do what he does? So should he have been used more?
That's it. Bottom line. Nothing else to discuss.
The praise and regret for Wes Hoolahan is purely relative. It's looking at what the country has and looking at what it could have. If Wes Hoolahan is a better option than other Irish players then that's all he needs to be.
And any of those defending him don't need to curb their views every time someone says he's in the Championship or he's not Messi. That's just nonsense talk and it doesn't need to be disputed to clarify that he's a better attacking midfielder than what Ireland currently has to work with.
But Eamon Dunphy, who has done some great work for the Wes Foundation over the years, has doubled down and married the argument that Wes should play for Ireland with the idea that he's of the same bloodline as an alien.
Dunphy never said Hoolahan was as good as Messi but, when you even compare the two, you balls up every bit of relativity for the Wes argument.
"If you were to put together, as we often did on RTE before games, his showreel, it's wonderful," Dunphy said on Morning Ireland on RTE Radio One.
"Wonderful precision in his passing. Wonderful support for his teammates on the ball. He was a fabulous players and I think the crowd loved him because he was reminiscent of a different era. He was a street footballer.
"He had the same kind of skillset as Lionel Messi. I'm not suggesting he was as good as Lionel Messi but the same skillset. A little wriggle of the hips and he'd lost you."
Wes Hoolahan has delivered for Ireland, in relative terms for the most part, across 23 competitive games. Lionel Messi has done it for Barcelona for 13 and a half years and done way more than any human was ever capable of doing. Messi did more at a tougher stage but, honestly, what the hell are we even talking about? This conversation is not necessary and it's just stupid.
Messi is better than Hoolahan. Fine. Is Hoolahan better than players on the Irish squad?
That's the only comparison that needs to be made but Eamon Dunphy even putting the word Messi in that same sentence only increases the resistance in the other direction.
No-one talks anymore about what is wrong with Ireland that Glenn Whelan would have twice as many caps as Wes Hoolahan. They just talk about Messi being better than him.