Glenn Whelan opens up on Hearts exit and Daniel Stendel treatment as he brands club 'amateurish'

Veteran Irish midfielder admits he was hurt by manager's treatment and feels like he has been 'thrown under a bus'

Wednesday, 8th January 2020, 9:41 am
Updated Wednesday, 8th January 2020, 11:35 am
Glenn Whelan has branded Hearts amateurish and questioned manager Daniel Stendel after his early exit from the club

Glenn Whelan has spoken for the first time about his Hearts exit, as he branded the club "amateurish" and hit out at the way he was treated by head coach Daniel Stendel in an interview with a newspaper in his homeland.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, the veteran Republic of Ireland midfielder - who was signed by former Tynecastle boss Craig Levein in August last year - claimed he felt "let down" and as if he has been "thrown under a bus" after being publicly castigated by Stendel.

He added: "Things were being said about me, that I didn’t fancy it, I was laying down the tools. No way was that the case on my part.

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"I don’t think he was watching the games if the manager felt like that. I can't accept him questioning my leadership skills or saying I didn't do the job. I did the job I was asked."

While the arrival of the former Barnsley boss may have been viewed as a fresh start by all at Tynecastle, the German ruffled a few feathers on his arrival in the Capital.

"When the new manager came in, the first person he spoke to was me," Whelan recalls. "He was already having a bit of a go. My reaction was, you have just walked in the door, you've not seen anything."

The 91-cap international played in Stendel's first match in charge - a 1-0 home defeat at the hands of fellow strugglers St Johnstone - but was dropped for the next game against Celtic.

"We played Celtic at home and we were 2-0 down at half-time when [Stendel] brought me on," Whelan continues. "After the game he had a pop at me. We were 2-0 down when I came on and we lost 2-0 - how can that be my fault?"

Come the Boxing Day derby with city rivals Hibs, Whelan was left out of the matchday squad entirely and says he learnt of his omission in a Christmas Day WhatsApp message.

"At 9.10pm on Christmas night there was a message in the players' group chat, that they only wanted 18 players in the squad for the next day. And I wasn't in it - that was the first I knew of it," he explains.

Arriving for training at Riccarton on December 27, Whelan found two groups of players - one comprising those who had featured against Hibs and another for those not involved.

"I wasn't in either group. My name wasn't even on the sheet," Whelan revealed. "I went to the manager to try and have a word but he was watching videos of the Hibs game and said he didn't have time to speak to me.

"I went to the gym, did a bit of work on my own, got showered and went back home. That was the last of it for me at Hearts."

The player, who still has a flat in Edinburgh he needs to clear out before returning to his Manchester base, admits he is hurt by his treatment and accused the club of "amateurish" behaviour.

"They call themselves a professional football club but I never heard anything from anyone at Hearts," he claims.

"On Monday night, I got an email from someone at the club with the contract details, asking me to sign so we could go our separate ways. I didn’t ask for any money, I was happy to just go. But it was all very amateurish from their side.

"New managers can come in with new ideas. That’s football. But to be let down the way I was and be treated the way I was, with no one at Hearts having the decency to speak to me or give me a call - that’s disappointing."