At 38-years old, Glenn Whelan was still going strong last season. He would make 31 appearances for Bristol Rovers in League Two over the course of the campaign, helping the club to promotion after a dramatic 7-0 victory on the final day of the season.
His future looked uncertain after he was released by the club at the end of the campaign. However, it has since been announced that the Irishman will return to the club in a player/coach role.
ℹ️ Return for Wheelo as Gas add to coaching team!#BristolRovers
— Bristol Rovers (@Official_BRFC) July 29, 2022
This certainly seems like the ideal step in his career, with Whelan always seeming likely to move into coaching at the end of his career. His playing opportunities are likely to be limited in the upcoming campaign, although he will offer plenty in his new role on the training pitch.
Joey Barton backs Glenn Whelan to become Ireland manager
Glenn Whelan will be working alongside Joey Barton at the club, with the former midfielder now entering his third campaign as the club's manager.
Speaking to the Bristol Post, he backed his former Manchester City teammate to become a top class coach and eventually go on to manage Ireland at international level.
Glenn’s influence both on and off the pitch last year was huge. His infectious nature means that it was a no-brainer when the opportunity arose to bring him back as a coach. The experience and knowledge he can pass on to the lads will be a key factor for us moving forward...
I think he’s got all the attributes to be a fantastic coach.
Being an Irishman, could you see him one day managing and coaching Ireland? Yeah, of course I could, with his experience of his playing career and his international career.
We go back to the youth team days at Man City and I like young, hungry staff. I believe massively in good coaches make good players and I think Whelo will be an outstanding coach.
Not only because of the standing he’s got in the building from when he played, but last year he was mega close to the young players because we had those two dressing rooms (due to COVID regulations) and Whelo was in the other dressing room.
Bristol Rovers will open their League One campaign with a trip to Burton Albion tomorrow afternoon, hoping to build on the momentum built up in their promotion chase last year with another strong season at a higher level.
While he may not be on the pitch all that often, Glenn Whelan will certainly have a role to play in that.