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whelan plans to stick with stoke

IRELAND international Glenn Whelan says he has no desire to leave Stoke City despite reports of a contract wrangle between the player and the club.

And Whelan, who turns 31 next month, even says he wants to see out his career with the club which has been his home for the last seven seasons.

Whelan's current deal with Stoke expires in the summer but so far, no progress has been made on a contract extension. That sparked reports that Whelan could be on his way out of the club - even in the January transfer window if the club decided to sell on Whelan now instead of allowing him run down the remainder of his contract.

It was believed that there was a significant gap between the demands of the two parties. Stoke only want to offer one-year deals to players who are over 30 (Whelan and Peter Crouch fit into that category) to keep their pay scales under control while Whelan, a loyal servant since his move to Stoke from Sheffield Wednesday in 2008, reportedly wanted a two-year deal.

leave

Impressed by the midfielder, a number of Premier League rivals have been linked with Whelan but the former Manchester City man says he has no plans to leave.

"I would definitely like to stay. I have always enjoyed coming in for training and pulling on the red and white jersey. That's no different now," Whelan said.

"It's difficult because I'm not in the team at the moment. I haven't actually sat down with the manager or anyone on the board, so where the stories have come from of late I'm not sure. They haven't come from me.

"If we can get something sorted out, it's not me wanting to leave. For as long as I still have a chance of playing I'll be doing all I can to spend the rest of my career here," he added.

Whelan's season was knocked off course when he suffered a serious leg injury while on Euro 2016 duty for Ireland away to Germany in October. Stoke have played 10 games since then but Whelan has featured just twice, both times as sub. Now that he has regained fitness following that nasty injury, he says his focus is on wining back in his place in Mark Hughes' starting XI.

"I will be just keeping my head down and working as hard as I can to get back in the team, and see where it takes me," he said.

"That has done all right for me since I've been at Stoke so I'm sure I'll be okay come the end of the season.

"It's not frustrating to be out of the team, you have to give credit to the lads who are in there.

"I've been here for seven years now and I've had my ups and downs and certainly a lot more ups.

"I'm training as hard as ever to get back in and when I got a chance hopefully I can prove people wrong or right that I should be here."

Stoke were a Championship club when Whelan joined in January 2008 and he has helped the club win promotion and then stay in the division.

"I've always worked hard and trained hard, and I don't think I've been any problem to the club. I haven't given them any bad press," he says.

"If you had said when I joined where we would be now and what we would have done, I would have taken both your hands off.

"It's taken hard work and a lot of dedication from upstairs, the board, the managers and the players.

"I don't think the players have been given enough credit at times for what Stoke have done over the years and what we're still doing now," added the Dubliner.

task

Whelan and his Stoke team-mates can enjoy a rare weekend off as they are not in action until Monday night when they have the tough task of taking on Premier League leaders Chelsea. The Blues had no problems against Stoke last season, wining 1-0 and 3-0 and you have to go back August 2011 for the last time that Chelsea dropped points against Stoke.


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