Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Whelan proud of Stoke international appearance record

Ireland midfielder Glenn Whelan has spoken of his pride at becoming Stoke City's most-capped international player.

Dublin born Whelan won his 37th cap against the Czech Republic on 29 February and that surpassed the 36 appearances made by England goalkeeper Gordon Banks during his five-year spell with the Potters.

"To beat Gordon Banks, who's not just a Stoke legend but also an England legend, it will be great to look back on," Whelan told BBC Radio Stoke.

Banks won a total of 73 caps for England, with the other 37 coming before his move from Leicester City to Stoke in 1967.

28 year old Whelan made his international debut for Ireland in June 2008, five months after joining the Potters from Sheffield Wednesday. The Irish central midfielder started his career with Manchester City after joining from Irish feeder club Cherry Orchard in 2001.

Whelan has been a mainstay in Giovanni Trapattoni's central midfield and is a likely starter for 'The Boys In Green' when they travel to Euro 2012 in June.

Three days after playing in a 1-1 draw for the Irish against the Czechs, Whelan helped Stoke to a 1-0 win against Norwich , their second consecutive Premier League victory and a result that lifted Tony Pulis's side back into the top half of the Premiership table.

"Coming off four straight defeats, we knew it was going to be really tough but they were two games that we knew we could win," said Whelan.

"It's given us massive confidence going into the next game [at Chelsea on Saturday].
"Clean sheets are important, every team needs them, and we've got two of them in the last two games so we need to keep that up."

"We go into every game hoping to get a win and Chelsea is no different. We know it will be tough with the players that they've got but they're not unbeatable. We can go there with confidence, like what we've shown in the last two games."