Mick McCarthy: 'Glenn Whelan can still do a job for Ireland'

Mick McCarthy: 'Glenn Whelan can still do a job for Ireland'

Glenn Whelan has entered time added on in his international career, with Mick McCarthy naming the veteran – who played what was billed as a 'farewell' game against Northern Ireland last year – in his provisional squad for the opening European Championship qualifiers away to Gibraltar and at home to Georgia.

“I rang him and asked him if he'd retired and he said, no, he hadn't,” said the Ireland manager.

“Whether he was retired as opposed to retiring himself, I don't know. He's playing very well (for Aston Villa), playing with Conor Hourihane as well so there's a bit of a partnership there. So there is some understanding of playing together with those two.

“I wonder about our squad of midfield players, whether there is somebody who can do a specific role as a sitter. He cerainly can. Whether he ends up being in the final squad remains to be seen, of course, but I've been impressed with him, yes.”

Pointing out that, even if Whelan is not in the final panel of 23 for the opening games, he could still play a part elsewhere in the campaign, McCarthy said: “I might want him for a specific game at any stage. And I think just knowing that he's not being forgotten about and is still being thought about as a player who can do a job in the national team, I think he would be pleased with that.”

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