Irish midfielder Glenn Whelan looks as though he could be set to exit Scottish Premiership club Hearts after having his leadership qualities questioned by new manager Daniel Stendel.
Whelan has featured frequently for Hearts this season playing 17 games and had been involved in Stendel’s first three at the club but was not in the squad for the Edinburgh derby on St Stephen’s Day and will reportedly not play on Sunday against Aberdeen.
Hearts have struggled this season winning just two games and sit bottom of the table, with Stendel expected to free up some funds by releasing certain players he may deem surplus to requirements.
Speaking in quotes reported by The Scotsman, Stendel hinted that Whelan may have played his last game for Hearts and questioned the 35-year-old’s leadership qualities in the middle of the park.
“I can say he is a good type. He wants to take the responsibility but I have seen only three games. Do you have the feeling he is a leader in this group? It’s not Glenn’s fault – but a real leader in the centre of the pitch? Sorry. Maybe I missed it. Michael Smith tries to take responsibility on the pitch.
“Before I came here, they signed some players who have experience and are the right age to take the responsibility but maybe they are not fit at the moment or they cannot handle the situation at the moment.”
If Whelan does exit Tynecastle, having only joined after his release from Aston Villa in the summer, then he will be hoping he can nail down a first-team spot elsewhere ahead of Ireland’s crucial Euro 2020 playoff against Slovakia in March.
The former Stoke City man has proven himself to be a key cog in the Irish midfield under Mick McCarthy after he brought Whelan out of retirement at the beginning of the year.