Whelan seeks Euro success
Glenn Whelan has targeted automatic qualification to Euro 2012 after losing in the World Cup play-offs.
Last Updated: 01/09/10 9:06am
Republic of Ireland midfielder Glenn Whelan has targeted automatic qualification to Euro 2012 after experiencing the pain of losing in the play-offs.
Giovanni Trapattoni's men suffered the cruellest of defeats against France over two legs after finishing second in their World Cup qualifying group.
Thierry Henry's infamous handball helped send Les Bleus through at Ireland's expense and Whelan is now desperate to make amends.
The road to Poland and Ukraine starts this Friday with a trip to Armenia, with Russia, Slovakia, Macedonia and Andorra the other teams in Group B.
Stoke player Whelan accepts it will not be easy to progress to the 2012 tournament but has warned Ireland's rivals that they are gunning for top spot.
He said: "Because of what happened in the last campaign, everyone was just hoping for this to come around as soon as possible.
"Hopefully with this campaign here, everyone can forget about what happened in Paris.
"We are not going into any campaign thinking, 'Let's go for second'. We are definitely going for top and hopefully that's the case.
"We know we have some tough places to go to and we are going to have some hard games, but we can just worry about ourselves. That's what we are going to do and hopefully qualify.
"It doesn't matter if we are playing Armenia or Russia, we will worry about ourselves."
Whelan has emerged as a key player since Trapattoni took charge and he feels the experience he has gained will prove to be important.
"If you look at two years ago, there were a few players coming on the scene that had not had that many games internationally," he explained.
"But now, quite a lot of us have picked up a fair few caps and we have been through a campaign already. Hopefully, that will help us and we can get through.
"We have been away and got some big results, especially the Italian game and how we got a late result out there. It is just little things like that you remember."