Glenn Whelan-What are we missing?
July 24, 2016 (No Comments) by theSharpeUser

For years now Glenn Whelan has been a mainstay in the Irish team. Both Giovanni Trappatoni and Martin O ‘Neill have trusted Whelan to anchor their midfield. It’s fair to say that Whelan has not always been a fan favourite with many questioning what he brings to the team and if his perceived conservative play is hindering the national side. Whelan has often been the go to man for criticism after defeats, with the media and fans questioning his talent and effectiveness in a vital position on the field. For a man often maligned he is picked often for the national side and has been playing in the Premier League for years now unlike many of his International teammates. So is this criticism fair or as fans can we just not see what Whelan brings to the party?

During the depressing Trappatoni era, Whelan was a regular in the side and didn’t exactly set the world alight. For much of this period, Whelan was also a substitute for Stoke and many wondered if he was worthy to wear the green jersey. He seemed to epitomise the type of team Ireland were under Trap, conservative and lacking ambition going forward. His sideways and backward passing frustrated fans and for a player supposed to be a sitting midfielder he often looked sluggish and struggled to get around the pitch fast enough to do his defensive duties. Many expected that when Martin O ‘Neill took over, Whelan would be surplus to requirements and may not even be in the squad, let alone the starting eleven. However, Whelan has been an integral part of O ‘Neills plans and has also become a regular at his club under Mark Hughes and maybe only now are we beginning to see why more than one manager has seen him as an important player in the side.

There is no doubt that Whelan gives his all for the national side and always has but maybe now he is adding more strings to his bow and is maturing as an international midfielder. The problem has been that Whelan has been a conservative player in conservative teams. If he was surrounded by more attacking players then maybe his simple no-nonsense style would be more appreciated but a lot of the time he was seen as slowing down an already blunt attacking side. He does look more at home of late for both club and country and as of now it certainly could be argued that he is more effective than his midfield colleague James McCarthy in the green shirt. While not many Irish fans would like to admit it, Whelan is now an integral part of O ‘Neills set up. He protects the back four and while he doesn’t always shine at linking the play and spreading the ball he is none the less an important player for us. Central midfield is a position we are not strong in and Whelan is reliable if not exactly a world beater. The truth of the matter is Ireland now need Glen Whelan. Whether that says more about Whelan as a player or the state of the national squad is debatable but what is not up for debate is that Whelan has improved as a player and while he may never be a fans favourite he is none the less a player that we need. While his style will ensure that he will probably never be a match winner, Whelan just may prevent us from losing a few, and that is pretty much his job.

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Glenn Whelan-What are we missing?
July 24, 2016 (No Comments) by theSharpeUser

For years now Glenn Whelan has been a mainstay in the Irish team. Both Giovanni Trappatoni and Martin O ‘Neill have trusted Whelan to anchor their midfield. It’s fair to say that Whelan has not always been a fan favourite with many questioning what he brings to the team and if his perceived conservative play is hindering the national side. Whelan has often been the go to man for criticism after defeats, with the media and fans questioning his talent and effectiveness in a vital position on the field. For a man often maligned he is picked often for the national side and has been playing in the Premier League for years now unlike many of his International teammates. So is this criticism fair or as fans can we just not see what Whelan brings to the party?

During the depressing Trappatoni era, Whelan was a regular in the side and didn’t exactly set the world alight. For much of this period, Whelan was also a substitute for Stoke and many wondered if he was worthy to wear the green jersey. He seemed to epitomise the type of team Ireland were under Trap, conservative and lacking ambition going forward. His sideways and backward passing frustrated fans and for a player supposed to be a sitting midfielder he often looked sluggish and struggled to get around the pitch fast enough to do his defensive duties. Many expected that when Martin O ‘Neill took over, Whelan would be surplus to requirements and may not even be in the squad, let alone the starting eleven. However, Whelan has been an integral part of O ‘Neills plans and has also become a regular at his club under Mark Hughes and maybe only now are we beginning to see why more than one manager has seen him as an important player in the side.

There is no doubt that Whelan gives his all for the national side and always has but maybe now he is adding more strings to his bow and is maturing as an international midfielder. The problem has been that Whelan has been a conservative player in conservative teams. If he was surrounded by more attacking players then maybe his simple no-nonsense style would be more appreciated but a lot of the time he was seen as slowing down an already blunt attacking side. He does look more at home of late for both club and country and as of now it certainly could be argued that he is more effective than his midfield colleague James McCarthy in the green shirt. While not many Irish fans would like to admit it, Whelan is now an integral part of O ‘Neills set up. He protects the back four and while he doesn’t always shine at linking the play and spreading the ball he is none the less an important player for us. Central midfield is a position we are not strong in and Whelan is reliable if not exactly a world beater. The truth of the matter is Ireland now need Glen Whelan. Whether that says more about Whelan as a player or the state of the national squad is debatable but what is not up for debate is that Whelan has improved as a player and while he may never be a fans favourite he is none the less a player that we need. While his style will ensure that he will probably never be a match winner, Whelan just may prevent us from losing a few, and that is pretty much his job.

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