Hearts' Glenn Whelan keen to keep representing Republic of Ireland but 'doesn't want to hold team back'

Glenn Whelan won his 90th cap for the Republic of Ireland in their 2-0 defeat to Switzerland last night and while the Hearts midfielder is keen to keep representing his country for as long as possible, he "doesn't want to hold the lads back."
Glenn Whelan (right) with Ireland colleague Darren RandolphGlenn Whelan (right) with Ireland colleague Darren Randolph
Glenn Whelan (right) with Ireland colleague Darren Randolph

The veteran Hearts midfielder is already one of the nation's most-capped players of all time, currently sitting one cap behind former Sunderland striker Niall Quinn and three behind ex-Celtic winger Aiden McGeady. Former Celtic and Spurs forward Robbie Keane leads the list on 146 caps.

Whelan was praised for his efforts in Geneva despite the two-goal defeat meaning Mick McCarthy's side now need to beat Denmark to have any hope of qualifying for Euro 2020.

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Speaking after the match, the 35-year-old said: "I try to look after myself as best I can.

"Obviously I want to play as much as I can but I don’t want to come and hold the lads back.

"As long as I have a chance of playing and giving something to the team then I’ll be here.

"If I’m not, I’ll be supporting the lads. I love playing for my country and I want to do it as many times as I can.”

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Whelan will almost certainly be in the squad for Ireland's friendly against New Zealand at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin as well as the showdown with the Danes at the same venue.

Both matches are scheduled for mid-November, and Whelan could overtake Quinn if he features in both games.