IRELAND veteran Glenn Whelan may decide to extend his international career after he agreed a new contract with League One side Fleetwood Town.
Manager Joey Barton had hoped to agree a new deal which would keep Whelan (36) at Fleetwood for another season and allow them to make another push for promotion next term, Town missing out at the playoff semifinal stage earlier this month.
Whelan joined Fleetwood from Hearts on a six-month deal in January and that contract had expired but boss Barton, who released six of his squad, was delighted to agree terms with Whelan.
"I’m delighted to have Glenn for another season, the impact he made in the second half of the season was superb," Barton said.
"He’s a player who has high standards on and off the pitch and you can’t have enough of those players around the club. I think people saw how important he was in us reaching the play-offs last season."
The Dubliner was also a regular at international level under Mick McCarthy, who brought him back to the Ireland fold after Whelan was effectively retired by Martin O'Neill in 2018.
Speaking to this newspaper in February, Whelan hinted that the Euro 2020 campaign would be his last but he also reiterated his stance that he would not retire. Previously, Whelan had made it clear that he did not voluntarily retire under Martin O'Neill in 2018 but that he "was retired" and stated that he would always be available at international level if selected.
And Kenny has said he will not discard Whelan. "Glenn has had a great career for Ireland. You can't discount younger players or older players. We'll make decisions closer to the time. Obviously Glenn has had a great career and I've got great respect for him. So we'll see," Kenny said earlier this month.
Whelan has said he will not stand in the way of younger players. "I don't want caps as charity, if I get to 93 or 94 I won't hang around like a bad smell to get to 100, I'd only be robbing caps off younger players," he said, speaking before Stephen Kenny replaced McCarthy as senior team manager.
"It looks like this will be my last campaign. I know there are young lads who need game time and caps, I will never officially retire but I know where I stand. Since I was 15 or 16 it was all about playing for Ireland but it goes back further, getting into the Dublin team for the Kennedy Cup, after the Kennedy Cup it's about getting into the Irish squads. I have played at all the age levels, next one for me now is the over-35s," he