Villa midfielder Whelan is said to be likely to have played his last game for Ireland.

Paul McGrath has paid tribute to Aston Villa midfielder Glenn Whelan on Instagram after the veteran star made what is likely to be his last ever appearance for the Republic of Ireland.

The 34-year-old started Thursday evening’s clash against Northern Ireland at the Aviva Stadium before being replaced in the 36th minute by Martin O’Neill, who brought on Villa teammate Conor Hourihane in his place.

Whelan, who is very much on the fringes of Dean Smith’s squad at the moment, earned his 85th cap that saw him travel to Poland and Ukraine with the Irish side for 2012’s European Championships.

Though Whelan has not officially retired from international football, it is believed that Thursday night was his last cap for the Irish and former Villa and Ireland man McGrath applauded Whelan on Instagram.

It has not been as much of a fairytale at Villa of late for Whelan, though. The midfielder has remained an unused substitute in eight of his last 12 matches for Smith’s side.

It remains to be seen if he will be used by Smith in the middle of the park after the international break, when Villa go up against Birmingham City in Smith’s first rival clash as manager of the club he supported as a boy.

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