Monday, November 7, 2011

Whelan hopeful of Play-off success

Irish central midfielder Glenn Whelan is confident that ' The Boys In Green ' will qualify for Euro 2012 and that the team will use the play-off defeat to France two year's ago as motivation for the two-legged encounter with Estonia.

Ireland travel to Tallinn for Friday's play-off first leg clash against Estonia, before next Tuesday's return fixture at Lansdowne Road, with a place at the European Championships in Poland and Ukraine up for grabs.

Whelan said that the players did not want to experience the losing feeling that the Irish team experienced in Paris after the infamous Thierry Henry hand-ball incident, which prevented Giovanni Trapattoni's side from progressing to last year's World Cup in South Africa.

Whelan said: "The lads that were involved know the feeling of that final whistle in France when we got beaten, and nobody wants to have that feeling again.

"So we can use that as motivation going into both games against Estonia and change things around after the last time and hopefully qualify, which will give everybody a big lift."

The Stoke City midfielder also gave an insight into his role with the Ireland team compared to the more advanced position that he plays for his club.

Whelan, who at club level is well known for linking up with the Stoke strikers and consistently peppering opponents' goals with long-range shooting, admitted that he would like more opportunities to play a similar role when wearing the green jersey.

But the Dubliner emphasised that his main concern is to do the job asked of him from Trapattoni and that he had no problems playing any role asked of him.

Whelan added: "The manager wants to keep a clean sheet, not concede goals and has got a defensive mind.

"But you go out and you're told by the manager what to do and if you don't do that, there are other players waiting to come in.

"I think every player would like to get a little more forward and adventurous but if the manager wants you to do a role then you have to do it."