Republic of Ireland midfielder Glenn Whelan has been the victim of a scathing tirade from former international Eamon Dunphy as he prepares to sit out his country’s World Cup crucial qualifier in Austria.
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Whelan played in Friday’s 2-1 defeat by Sweden in Dublin but has been ruled out of the trip to Vienna with a hamstring problem.
He has returned to Stoke to start the battle to get fit for Saturday’s visit of one of his former clubs, Manchester City -- but not before finding himself on the end of a blast from outspoken Dunphy, who is now a journalist.
“He [Giovanni Trapattoni] has stuck with Whelan from day one but he is a terrible player,” the 68-year-old pundit said on Irish TV channel RTE. “He can’t run, he can’t pass, he can’t tackle, he doesn’t see anything.”
Dunphy continued his rant by suggesting the 29-year-old was fair game for criticism because of the trappings of his success in the game.
“He drives two Ferraris... you get paid a lot of money [as a footballer] and I am entitled to say what I think. I have never thought he was a very good player. “I think he’s a very lucky lad to have 50 caps for Ireland. He was at fault for a lot of things.”
Whelan has started both of Ireland’s games so far this season and has also figured in all four of the fixtures Stoke have played, although he came on as a substitute in the Potters’ last two Premier League outings.
The midfielder’s club colleague Jon Walters hopes to have recovered from an ankle injury in time to play for Ireland against an Austrian side likely to include Stoke’s controversial transfer-deadline day signing Marko Arnautovic.