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.
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.”