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Glenn Whelan: Jack Grealish among those paying tribute after Ireland stalwart’s retirement

Glenn Whelan retirement.

Glenn Whelan has played his last game of professional football, with some of his former clubs and teammates paying tribute upon his retirement.

The former Ireland midfielder came on in the 78th minute of Bristol Rovers’ League One defeat to Bolton Wanderers on Sunday, helping to reduce a 3-1 deficit to 3-2, before going off again to a rapturous reception in injury time.

Glenn Whelan retirement tributes.

Whelan won 91 caps for his country between 2008 and 2019, placing him joint-ninth alongside Niall Quinn in the all-time list for Ireland.

The FAI are among those playing tribute to their former stalwart, with a post on the Ireland Football social media accounts saying: ‘Thanks Whelo. A fantastic career which included 91 caps for Ireland and these two fantastic goals Good luck in your retirement Glenn.’

The message was accompanied by footage of the two goals Whelan scored for Ireland, both of which helped to achieve crucial results in the 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign, namely a 2-1 victory over Georgia in Germany, and a 2-2 draw against Italy at Croke Park.

Former teammates.

Bristol Rovers posted a shorter message, which simply said ‘Thanks, Whelo,’ while the Dubliner’s former Aston Villa teammate Jack Grealish added: What a career & what a guy. Congrats Whelo. Happy retirement brother.’ 

Speaking after Sunday’ game, Rovers manager Joey Barton paid his own tribute to the man he brought to the club at the beginning of the 2021/22 season.

“I can’t thank Whelo enough,” said the former Manchester City midfielder.

“He came and signed for us at Fleetwood, he was a cultural ambassador, driving standards in training and in the dressing room. He came down to Bristol Rovers with us as well.

Joey Barton Glenn Whelan

Multiple clubs.

“I thought he might have pulled up stumps at the end of last season and declared it then that he’d had a great innings but he wanted to scrap on, while he was still switching across to the coaching department as well.”

After graduating through the Cherry Orchard academy in Dublin, Whelan went on to represent Manchester City, Bury, Sheffield Wednesday, Stoke, Aston Villa and Fleetwood in England, as well Hearts in Scotland.

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