Aston Villa announced their full list of released players this afternoon, featuring Glenn Whelan.
Words by Regan Foy | @FindFoy
Aston Villa have now publicly announced all of the players that have now been released. We’ve been aware of the likes of Alan Hutton, Albert Adomah, Mile Jedinak, and of course Micah Richards and Mark Bunn.
But this release, of Glenn Whelan, has come at a bit of a shock, and will surely split opinion on whether the right decision has been made. Whilst fans will implicitly trust Dean Smith’s decision in this regard, it’s evident that the Irish veteran could have easily been a squad player in the Premier League.
He’s provided us with some great memories, and in essence, provided us with the penalty-miss that proved to be the end for Steve Bruce, and was the catalyst for the arrival of Dean Smith, who steered us back in to the top flight.
The Ireland international was re-called into the International set-up due to his form for Aston Villa this season, which just shows how important he has been within the midfield rotation that has seen both him and fellow Irishman Conor Hourihane swap their places in the starting eleven on a number of occasions.
He has split opinion on a number of occasions during his time at Villa Park, with some fans stressing that he was ‘too slow’ or ‘too old’, but for the most part looked like neither of those comments. At points, he was dictating the tempo of the Aston Villa midfield and for a man of his age looked far youthful than he should have.
Performances this season especially have caused his name to be chanted from the stands, and earned the midfielder the nickname of ‘The Irish Pirlo’.
A stunning goal against Middlesbrough during one of the earlier games of Dean Smith’s reign saw his face light-up and his adoring team-mates congratulate him.
He was by no means a flashy footballer, and truly harked back to the old school at times. But he did his job, and did it exceptionally.
For those who love a good metaphor or symbolism – just after Aston Villa announced Glenn’s release – his wife posted on twitter a picture of Whelan and his family in the sea with the caption ‘Sunset’, followed by three emojis. Perhaps Glenn has chosen to retire once his international duty ends. Who knows.
God speed, Glenn.