Whelan relishing Stoke chance

BY foxsports • May 13, 2011

The Republic of Ireland international found himself on the bench for a lengthy spell either side of Christmas but since returning to the starting XI in February he has been among the Potters' most impressive performers. Walking out at Wembley on Saturday against his former club Manchester City will of course be the highlight - but the 27-year-old knows he cannot take anything for granted. Whelan said: "I had a tough time. I wasn't getting much chance, but I've kept working hard, kept my head down and believed I was good enough to get back in the team. "If you don't believe you're good enough then it's game over really. It was a matter of waiting and taking a chance and hopefully I've done that. "But I know if my performance starts slacking there's going to be people to take my spot, and I don't want that to happen." One thing missing from Whelan's season so far has been a goal. That is something of a surprise for a player noted for his strikes from distance, and he has previous against City having netted in the 1-1 draw at the Britannia Stadium last February. The Dubliner did not want to take all the credit for that, though, saying: "I think my Irish counterpart Shay Given helped me out. It was probably a shot he'd have saved nine times out of 10, so I gave him a little bit of stick over that afterwards."

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