“Every challenge you put in front of him, he would step up again.”
Tony Pulis has showered Glenn Whelan with praise and explained why the legendary Irish midfielder was so seldom left out of his Stoke City side.
Pulis revealed how Whelan had something of a “spiky” personality within his Potters dressing room and recalled one particular incident when the Irishman let a new arrival from the USA know what was and wasn’t acceptable on the training pitch.
“It was Brek Shea, he played for America, he had long, flowing blonde hair. You looked at him first and thought he was a bit of a ‘Charlie’, but he was a nice lad,” Pulis said recently on Off The Ball.
“Glenn hits this cross-field pass that went out of play, and Brek puts his hand up. We were doing 11 v 11 and I was coaching something, I turned around and by the time I turned back… let’s just say that Glenn had shaken him up a bit!
“Brek never, ever got involved in any of that nonsense from any point after that.”
Whelan made 338 appearances for Stoke between 2007 and 2017 and he remains a legend of the club.
Glenn Whelan at Stoke
During the time Pulis was in charge of Stoke, a number of quality midfielders joined and left the Potters but Whelan wasn’t often dislodged from his place in the heart of Pulis’ midfield.
“I have got the greatest of respect for Glenn. Every challenge you put in front of him, he would step up again,” Pulis explained. “We brought some good midfielders in and through pre-season Glenn would just step up.
“Irrespective of what I paid for that midfield player, I would always pick the best players for the team and Glenn would always prove to be the best player for that position.
“As an individual, he can be a bit spiky at times with his teammates and others but as a person and as a manager, I have the greatest respect for him. He is not a great favourite with the supporters but his teammates loved to play with Glenn because he did all the donkey work.
“He was tidy enough on the ball and a very intelligent player as well.”