Aston Villa midfielder Glenn Whelan will captain Ireland in his final cap for the Boys in Green against Northern Ireland in a friendly at the Aviva Stadium on Thursday, as he ends a 10-year international career.
Glenn Whelan, who has won 84 caps for Ireland, made his first international appearance in 2008 and manager Martin O’Neill confirmed last week that the 34-year old would be leading the team out against Northern Ireland at the Aviva Stadium.
Speaking to the media at the Irish press conference on Tuesday, key midfielder Robbie Brady, who recently returned to the Irish fold after a lengthy injury lay-off, was full of praise for Whelan, a player who he feels “will be missed when he goes.”
“I’ve got on with Glenn since day one,” began Brady, who will be looking to make his first Irish appearance since the play-off defeat to Denmark in November 2017.
“He’s been fantastic for Ireland you can see with the number of caps he’s racked up. He’s a great lad and one of the best to have around the place.
“He’ll get some game time on Thursday hopefully and it’ll be a special night for him and his family. He deserves all the plaudits for what he’s given this country and this national team so as a good friend and as a good teammate he’ll be missed when he does go.”
During his time with Ireland, Whelan was a key member of squads that qualified for the European Championships under Giovanni Trapattoni and Martin O’Neill respectively.
Whelan was a vital cog in a solid Irish setup, that became incredibly hard to beat but the former Stoke City man never seemed to be appreciated during his time with the international team, and often found himself criticised for his conservative style of play.
Brady feels that Whelan was often underappreciated during his time with the Boys in Green and made the important point that for someone to have gotten as many caps as the Clondalkin native has, they must be “a very good player.”
“I don’t think unless you’re with him day in and day out you don’t get to know him, you don’t get to see how important he is but as you can see, no one gets that many caps for their country without being a very good player so yeah maybe he didn’t get the appreciation he deserved at times.
“Like I said he will be missed.”
Glenn Whelan also had a successful career in the Premier League with Stoke City, making 277 appearances in nine years at the highest level before dropping down to the Championship to play for Aston Villa.
Ireland take on Northern Ireland in an international friendly at the Aviva Stadium on Thursday evening before making the trip to Aarhus to face Denmark in their final UEFA Nations League game.