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Ex-Barcelona Star Hails Glenn Whelan's Impact At Stoke

Ex-Barcelona Star Hails Glenn Whelan's Impact At Stoke
Eoin Harrington
By Eoin Harrington
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With Glenn Whelan playing his final professional game on Sunday in Bristol Rovers' defeat to Bolton Wanderers, tributes have poured in for the 39-year-old midfielder.

The Irish midfielder has received plaudits from former clubs and teammates - including Jack Grealish, with whom he played in midfield for Aston Villa between 2017 and 2019.

Grealish praised Whelan in saying, "What a career and what a guy. Congrats Whelo - Happy retirement brother."

Another ex-teammate has now praised Whelan, alongside many of the "Stokealona" team of the mid-2010s.

During his time at Stoke City, Whelan played alongside several stars who had rather unexpectedly made their way to the Britannia Stadium, including former Barcelona man Bojan Krkic.

Bojan, who was compared to Lionel Messi when he burst onto the scene with Barcelona, ultimately did not quite live up to the hype of his early career and, after spells at Roma and Ajax, departed the Camp Nou in the summer of 2014.

His surprise destination was Stoke City, where he would be joined by fellow Barcelona 'wonderkid' Ibrahim Affelay in the summer of 2015.


Speaking to talkSPORT this week on his memories of his time with the team which became affectionately known as 'Stokealona,' Bojan listed some of the players he enjoyed playing with most - and included Whelan.

Bojan praises Glenn Whelan and fellow 'Stokealona' teammates


Looking back, the mid-2010s were a strange time at Stoke City. Their repeated top-half finishes in the Premier League were a massive achievement for a club of their size, and they became a surprisingly attractive team for some big names to turn to when things went awry.

A quick glance at their 2015-16 squad list sees a strong Irish contingent (Stephen Ireland, Marc Wilson, Jonathan Walters, and Shay Given were all on the books) joined by the likes of Peter Crouch, Xherdan Shaqiri, and former Barcelona men Ibrahim Affelay and Bojan Krkic.


Stephen Nzonzi - who would go on to play in France's World Cup final win in 2018 - was also present for the 2014-15 season.

Bojan spoke to talkSPORT this week on his memories of that Stoke team - and mentioned Glenn Whelan in the company of some of those big names as a teammate he particularly enjoyed playing with.

Everyone was saying to me, 'no, you're crazy, why would you go there? They don't play football!'

I said, 'I don't know but if they call me it's because they understand my qualities physically and technically, so I want to go and play in the Premier League.'

It's one of the best choices I made in my career. We had fantastic years playing fantastic football in the Premier League. Stoke is a small club but a family club - the fans are, for me, the greatest fans that I had at all the clubs I played with.

We had many good footballers - Marko [Arnautovic], Shaqiri, Stephen Nzonzi, Glenn Whelan, Affelay. Many, many good players and we played nice football.

We had many good things in that dressing room. We changed the mentality of the club. They were saying 'Stokealona!'

It's esteemed company for Whelan to be put in, and well deserved after the years of service he put in at the Britannia Stadium.

Bojan went on to say that he is still in touch with many of that Stoke team, including Whelan's fellow Irishman Jon Walters.


Stoke may have developed a reputation during their time in the Premier League for playing a rather robust style of football - but the streets will never forget the days of 'Stokealona,' with Xherdan Shaqiri, Bojan Krkic, and Glenn Whelan tearing it up in the Premier League.

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