Glenn Whelan admits disappointment after journalist told him of Aston Villa release

Whelan was in a good mood following his Aston Villa departure, joking "I've just had Real Madrid on the phone"

Glenn Whelan
Image: Glenn Whelan was released by Aston Villa after gaining promotion to the Premier League

Glenn Whelan found out he had been released by Aston Villa by a call from a journalist following the club's promotion to the Premier League.

The 35-year-old midfielder was an unused substitute in Villa's 2-1 Championship play-off final triumph against Derby and was subsequently released shortly after along with eight other first-team players.

Despite Whelan admitting he was not surprised to be released, he was disappointed with the manner in which Villa dismissed him of his duties.

He said: "There was only one disappointment for me. I went away on the Tuesday with the family and when I landed back in here on Tuesday I had two missed calls, one from a journalist saying I'd been released and one from the manager to give him a call.

El Ghazi celebrates scoring for Aston Villa
Image: Aston Villa beat Derby 2-1 in the Championship play-off final at Wembley

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

The Republic of Ireland international made 73 appearances for Villa in his two seasons at the club and insisted he had achieved his goal of gaining promotion back into the Premier League.

He 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.

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"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."

Dublin , Ireland - 26 March 2019; Glenn Whelan celebrates after his Republic of Ireland team-mate Conor Hourihane, right, scored their goal during the UEFA EURO2020 Group D qualifying match between Republic of Ireland and Georgia at the Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road in Dublin. (Photo By Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)
Image: Whelan will look to add to his 85 caps for Ireland when they face Denmark and Gibraltar in the European Qualifiers

Dean Smith will be preparing for life in the Premier League with his boyhood club and although Whelan could have turned against his former manager following his release, he states there is a mutual respect between the pair.

"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.

"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."

Villa may be looking to add younger legs to their squad following the departures of senior players such as Whelan, Alan Hutton, Mile Jedinak and Micah Richards who are all in their thirties. However, Whelan feels his body is still in good shape to play at a high standard and when asked if he would continue his career he joked: "Definitely. I've just had Real Madrid on the phone."

Glenn Whelan
Image: Whelan played 35 Championship games for Villa last season

"I want to play as long as I can and as high as I can. I want to try and make an impact wherever I go. I don't want to go anywhere and be a cheerleader. I'm willing to fight for a spot and as long as it's a fair fight then I'll go and do that."

Before he can find a new club, the Republic of Ireland stalwart will look to add to his 85 caps in the two upcoming European Qualifiers away to Denmark on June 7 before taking on Gibraltar in Dublin three days later.

"We have got two big games for Ireland. My season hasn't finished yet so I'm concentrating on Denmark first and then hopefully Gibraltar after a good result.

"Once we get Gibraltar out the way I'm sure I will sit down with representatives and get some sort of plan together to see what we are going to do."

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