The Stoke City midfielder believes that the Boys in Green will be better off with a 4-5-1 tactical system rather than a rigid 4-4-2 approachRepublic of Ireland midfielder Glenn Whelan says he understands the criticism of Giovanni Trapattoni in the wake of the 6-1 World Cup qualifier defeat to Germany and believes that the Boys in Green will be better off playing five in midfield.
The Italian’s position came under severe pressure after the record home loss, which followed on from an unimpressive 2-1 win over Kazakhstan in the opening Group C game. However, the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) backed Trapattoni after a 4-1 win over the Faroe Islands.
Stoke City’s Whelan missed the last two games with a hamstring injury but says he can see why the manager was under fire.
“At the time, he had to take [the criticism] because the results weren't right,” Whelan told reporters in Dublin ahead of the friendly against Greece tomorrow. "The FAI have now backed him, so hopefully they will just let him get on with it and hopefully qualify for the World Cup because that's why we are here and that's what we want.
"Us as players take the criticism on the chin. When papers and journalists are telling you you are great one week, you can't then not take it the next week when they are telling you you are not.”
Since taking over the Boys in Green in 2008, Trapattoni has favoured a rigid 4-4-2 system until this campaign where he has experimented with an additional midfielder. And former Sheffield Wednesday player Whelan, a regular under the Italian, says he much prefers the extra support in the engine room.
"I think [it suits us] because I'm the one who has moaned about it more than anything. We first tried it against Serbia and if you look at the first half against Serbia, it's probably some of the best football we have played recently,” said the 28-year-old.
"I have played X amount of games now and 99 per cent of them when I have played, I have played against three in midfield.
"He has fiddled about a little bit with systems and things like that, and that's helped because since I have been involved and been playing, I don't think I have played against another national team which has played 4-4-2.
"If it's me or Keith Andrews or Darron Gibson or Keith Fahey who has been in there, we have been over-powered [with just two].”
Ireland’s next competitive fixtures come next March with a double header against Sweden and Austria. Trapattoni has called up 30-year-old Norwich midfielder Wes Hoolahan for the Greece clash and 44-cap Whelan has welcomed the inclusion of the former Belvedere man.
He said: “He's got a lot of experience now over the last few years, playing for Norwich and doing really well in the Premier League. He's definitely different. He's very sharp, very tidy on the ball and always wants it.
"He's tricky and hard to play against, so if he gets his chance, I hope he does really well because he deserves it, especially after playing in Ireland for so long and then proving himself in England.
"If there's one person you want to see get a cap, it's Wes,” Whelan said.