By Phil Jennings
GLENN Whelan insists he has no plans to retire from international football as he prepares to make his Aston Villa return this weekend.
Whelan may be 35, but he produced an impressive performance against Georgia on Tuesday to help secure the Republic of Ireland’s second successive Euro 2020 qualifying victory in Dublin.
It was a free-kick from Whelan’s Villa team-mate Conor Hourihane that earned the points.
But Ireland boss Mick McCarthy was quick to point out Whelan’s contribution.
And the Villa midfielder – who thought he had played his last international in November – says the show goes on as far as he’s concerned.
He told skysports.com: ”I never retired.
“Obviously, Martin O’Neill at the time was going about his thing and I understood that because I’m getting on in age.
“But when I got the phone call to come back, there were no second questions. It was, ‘Get the tickets booked and I’m there.’
“It’s a privilege to come back and put the jersey on.
“In November, I thought that was going to be the last time I’d ever do it.”
But Whelan accepts he will not play in every game.
He added: ”I know where I stand,” he said. “I know I’m getting on a little bit. If I come in and do my part, I’m more than happy.
“We’ve got a few lads coming through who need that little bit of experience, so I can pass that on a little bit.”
Whelan will now aim to be part of the Ireland squad to face Denmark in June.