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Former Norwich City ace Wes Hoolahan to depart Cambridge United

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Wes Hoolahan in action for Cambridge United against Cheltenham Town. Picture: Keith Heppell
Wes Hoolahan in action for Cambridge United against Cheltenham Town. Picture: Keith Heppell

Wes Hoolahan will be leaving Cambridge United this summer.

The 39-year-old, who turns 40 on May 20, has been included on the list of players leaving the U's on their retained list, along with goalkeeper Kai McKenzie-Lyle and defender Tom Dickens.

It had been anticipated that Hoolahan would depart at the end of his contract after he appeared to bid farewell to United supporters and team-mates when being substituted close to the end of their 2-2 draw with Cheltenham Town last Saturday, the final match of the Sky Bet League One season.

Hoolahan had an integral role in helping United finish second in League Two last season, earning promotion to the third tier of English football for the first time in 19 years.

“Wes Hoolahan leaves this summer after an instrumental two seasons with us,” said United head coach Mark Bonner. “His influence on the team, role in winning games and contribution to last season’s promotion and this year’s form cannot be understated.

“His experience and professionalism have made him a key member of the team and a pleasure to work with. I know how fortunate I am that my two years in the role have coincided with Wes’ time here and he is without doubt the most talented player I have seen play for the club over the three decades I have been watching.

“Wes will forever be welcome at the Abbey Stadium and we will always be grateful for his inspiration, effort and example.

McKenzie-Lyle had been with the U's for two seasons, and made five appearances for the club before ending the campaign on loan at Chelmsford City.

Dickens, a product of United's youth set-up, spent most of last season on loan at Chelmsford, but returned briefly to make his first-team debut as a substitute in the EFL Trophy win over Portsmouth at the Abbey.

“Kai McKenzie-Lyle and Tom Dickens also move on this summer with our best wishes," said Bonner.

“Tom has been with the club through the whole academy pathway and as we support him in the next stages of his career to try to help him find the most suitable club to continue the next part of his development, we thank him for his commitment throughout.”

United have offered new contracts to six players.

Club captain Greg Taylor, Harrison Dunk, Liam O'Neil, Adam May, Jack Iredale and Will Mannion have got new deals on the table.

Contract options have been triggered for youngsters Ben Worman and Liam Bennett, while loanees Sam Sherring (Bournemouth), Jenson Weir and Lorent Tolaj (both Brighton & Hove Albion) have all returned to their parent clubs.

Dimitar Mitov, George Williams, Paul Digby, Lloyd Jones, James Brophy, Joe Ironside, Sam Smith, Jubril Okedina, Shilow Tracey, Harvey Knibbs, Jack Lankester, Lewis Simper, Harvey Beckett and Mamadou Jobe all remain under contract with the U's for next season.

“The players are now enjoying a well-earned break following the conclusion of the season and having met every player, we are now busy preparing for the new season," Bonner added.

“We are also thankful to the players who have contributed during their time on loan and they now return to their parent clubs with our best wishes for the future.

“Discussions with those players regarding new contracts are now underway and we await the outcome of those discussions, before any further announcements.”

Read more:

Wes Hoolahan casts magic at Cambridge United to boost Sky Bet League Two promotion challenge

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