How Hearts midfielder Glenn Whelan fought back after being transfer-listed in England

Hearts striker Steven MacLean remembers Paul Sturrock putting Glenn Whelan on the transfer list whilst managing the pair at Sheffield Wednesday in 2006. More vivid is his recollection of Whelan’s determined fightback to reach the top level in England and win 88 Republic of Ireland caps.

Glenn Whelan took a few weeks to settle but has now begun to dominate matches
Glenn Whelan took a few weeks to settle but has now begun to dominate matches

The 35-year-old midfielder’s impact in maroon is no surprise to MacLean, his team-mate for three years at Hillsborough. Whelan represented Manchester City, Wednesday, Stoke City and Aston Villa before signing a one-year deal with Hearts in August. Being told he was surplus to requirements in Yorkshire might have been the catalyst for his rise to prominence.

“The manager didn’t need to ask me about Glenn. His career speaks for itself with 80-odd caps and Premier League experience,” said MacLean. “It just shows you as well – when we were at Sheffield Wednesday he was told he could go. He fought back and look at his career now.

“It lets other players who are having a hard time know if you do stick in when things aren’t going well you can turn things around. I hadn’t seen Glenn up close for a while but, yeah, you can tell he has class. I thought he was head and shoulders above everybody against Hibs and again against Aberdeen.

“His use of the ball and his experience, his talking and stuff as well. Both of us are getting on in years but you can see he still has great quality. He has brought a lot to the team and long may it continue.”

Advertisement

Hide Ad

After a couple of weeks finding his feet, Whelan has dominated midfield in recent Hearts matches. “What happens in football now is you sign a player and everybody thinks he’s ready to go. It takes time, people take time to gel. It’s up to us to work hard and make sure that gelling happens quicker and we do better.

“You can see Glenn’s quality after a couple of games.”