Whelan: ‘I was axed by voicemail’

By Graham Hill

GLENN Whelan admits he was ‘disappointed’ to miss out on the phone call to tell him he was no longer wanted by Aston Villa.

And when he listened to his voicemail, it was a message from a journalist telling him he had been let go.

But he had two missed calls and the other message was from Dean Smith.

Whelan was heading back to Dublin when the calls were made and he missed them both.

The midfielder is currently on international duty with the Republic of Ireland and he told reporters: “There was only one disappointment for me.

“I went away on the Tuesday with the family and when I landed back in here I had two missed calls, one from a journalist saying I’d been released and one from the manager to give him a call.

“From that point of view it was disappointing, but something I expected to be honest.”

Whelan made it clear however that he parted with Smith on good terms when he returned his call.

He added: “We just congratulated each other, wished each other all the best and that was it. There were no hard feelings — I’ve been in the game too long to hold grudges.

“No listen, I want to wish Aston Villa all the best, thank them for my time there, thank the fans, everyone that was involved. We had some good times.”

But Whelan, who has been linked with a move back to former club Stoke City, says he left Villa on a high after the victory over Derby at Wembley to secure promotion.

Whelan added: “It was a great day, a great occasion. I signed two years at Aston Villa to get them back in the Premier League and I got them there, so for me, mission complete.

“To be released wasn’t a surprise, obviously what stage I’m at in my career and where Aston Villa want to go.

“I’m very pleased with what I’ve achieved over the last few seasons.”

Whelan was asked if he intended to continue playing and he joked:“Definitely. I’ve just had Real Madrid on the phone there before I came in.”

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