Hearts boss reveals how Glenn Whelan turned down a fortune to pull on maroon
Craig Levein has revealed how Glenn Whelan rejected five times more money in England to join Hearts - because he wanted the best chance of playing for Republic of Ireland at the European Championships.
The 35-year-old midfielder has been outstanding for the Edinburgh club since signing a one-year contract last month. He had more than 12 clubs south of the border pursuing him after leaving Aston Villa but chose Tynecastle Park, spurning far more lucrative offers in the process.
“The conversation we had when Glenn came in was about his focus on playing in the Euros at the end of the season. He needed somewhere for his competitive edge to remain,” revealed Levein.
“Part of him coming here was that he still had that short-term focus, that he’s determined to get to the Euros and to do that he needs to be playing regularly and playing well. Thankfully he chose us to come and do that.
“Part of the conversation was about helping other people and to be fair, when the chips are down, he’s been excellent. Off the field and, in particular, on the field.
“You don’t play at that level for that amount of time without having real mental strength and quality. It was more about him being convinced that this was the right place for him and everything fitted in with his family life.
“He had to want to come here for this to work. I desperately wanted him to come but that doesn’t matter. Given the level he’s been playing at, he could have picked a dozen clubs in England where he would have got five or six times what he’s earning here.
“It was really pleasing for me that he decided that this would be different for him and would have a bit of responsibility. I didn’t expect anything else but he’s dealt with that so far with amazing calmness and has helped everybody.