Glenn Whelan: Midfielder had offers from abroad before choosing Hearts
Ireland will travel to Tblisi to play Georgia on Saturday before a crucial away fixture with Switzerland three days later, both games live on Sky Sports
Last Updated: 09/10/19 1:28pm
Hearts and Republic of Ireland midfielder Glenn Whelan admits he had offers from clubs abroad before moving to Hearts to boost his chances of playing at Euro 2020.
Whelan was released by Aston Villa following their promotion to the Premier League in the summer, before subsequently joining Hearts on a one-year-contract in August after deliberating about a move abroad.
The 35-year-old admitted he consulted Ireland manager Mick McCarthy before deciding which team to join in an effort to prolong his international career.
Whelan said: "I spoke to the manager. I had one or two options abroad that were really interesting at the time.
"The manager wasn't too keen to be honest because the league wasn't probably as strong as where I'm playing now or where I was at. So he wants me trying to play as high and competitively as much as I can.
"If it was down to money I would be gone - in the sun somewhere at the minute. But for me it's never been about money or earning a certain wage.
"I'm happy playing football and that's all I want to do, so for me it was about getting the club right for the family and to have a chance playing for Ireland."
Should Ireland qualify for the European Championships next summer, their group fixtures will be staged in Dublin's Aviva Stadium and Whelan insists this was a big consideration for him when choosing Hearts.
He said: "I want to play for Ireland at the Euros, so I spoke to a few people and I think in the end, Hearts was the right decision for me."
"Even when I spoke to the Hearts manager, I told him basically I want to play as long as I can and as high as I can because I want to have a great chance of qualifying and I would love to still be around and be a part of it.
"I think it'll suit me. The manager at Hearts has been really good to me, he's given me time off to go and see the family and go and spend hours down there so it's been OK."
Ireland currently sit top of Group D with 11 points from their five games, however, they face tough competition from Denmark and Switzerland for the two automatic Euro 2020 qualification places.
Whelan added: "We're still miles off [qualifying]. We've got three massive games. Obviously the position that we're in is a great position but we know that can be taken away from us easily enough.
"It's an important game away to Georgia. Get the right result there and that will give us confidence going into the other two, but you have to just take each game as it comes."
Ireland will travel to Tblisi to play Georgia on Saturday before a crucial away fixture with Switzerland three days later, both games live on Sky Sports.