Glenn Whelan discovered he had been released by Premier League-bound Aston Villa over the phone – from two missed calls!
The 35-year-old, currently on international duty with the Republic of Ireland, was unavailable when manager Dean Smith called him days after the club’s Championship play-off final victory over Derby.
Whelan said: “There was only one disappointment for me. I went away on the Tuesday with the family and when I landed back in here on Tuesday I had two missed calls, one from a journalist saying I’d been released and one from the manager to give him a call.
“From that point of view it was disappointing, but something I expected to be honest.”
Whelan, however, will leave Villa Park with his head held high.
Asked about the win at Wembley, he said: “It was a great day, a great occasion. I signed two years at Aston Villa to get them back in the Premier League and I got them there, so for me, mission complete.
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“To be released wasn’t a surprise, obviously what stage I’m at in my career and where Aston Villa want to go.
“I’m very pleased with what I’ve achieved over the last few seasons.”
Whelan did eventually speak to Smith and insisted that the pair parted on good terms.
He said: “We just congratulated each other, wished each other all the best and that was it. There were no hard feelings – I’ve been in the game too long to hold grudges.
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“No listen, I want to wish Aston Villa all the best, thank them for my time there, thank the fans, everyone that was involved. We had some good times.”
Asked if he intends to play on, the midfielder said with a smile: “Definitely. I’ve just had Real Madrid on the phone there before I came in.”