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Glenn Whelan: I chose Hearts over foreign clubs to help me play for Ireland at Euro 2020

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Glenn Whelan has revealed why he joined Hearts

The 35-year-old is desperate to reach the European Championship finals with Republic of Ireland next summer and joined Hearts to help him achieve his dream.

After leaving Aston Villa as a free agent, he signed a one-year contract at Tynecastle Park in August after consulting the Republic manager Mick McCarthy.

Ireland are set to play group matches at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium if they qualify for Euro 2020 and that was high on Whelan’s priority list.

“I want to play for Ireland at the Euros so I spoke to a few people and I think, in the end, Hearts was the right decision for me,” he said.

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“Even when I spoke to the Hearts manager, I told him basically I want to play as long as I can and as high as I can because I want to have a great chance of qualifying and I would love to still be around and be a part of it.

“I think it’ll suit me. The manager at Hearts has been really good to me, he’s given me time off to go and see the family and go and spend hours down there so it’s been okay.

“I spoke to the [Ireland] manager. I had one or two options abroad that were really interesting at the time.

“The manager wasn’t too keen to be honest because the league wasn’t probably as strong as where I’m playing now or where I was at. So he wants me trying to play as high and competitively as much as I can.

“If it was down to money I would be gone – in the sun somewhere at the minute. But for me it’s never been about money or earning a certain wage.

“I’m happy playing football and that’s all I want to do, so for me it was about getting the club right for the family and to have a chance playing for Ireland.”

Ireland sit top of Group D but are in an intense battle with Denmark and Switzerland for the two automatic Euro 2020 spots. Whelan is in the squad for crucial qualifiers against Georgia and the Swiss over the next week.

“We’re still miles off [qualifying]. We’ve got three massive games,” the Hearts player told Sky Sports. “Obviously, the position that we’re in is a great position but we know that can be taken away from us easily enough.

“It’s an important game away to Georgia. Get the right result there and that will give us confidence going into the other two, but you have to just take each game as it comes.”



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