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Whelan eager for return to action

Ireland midfielder Glenn Whelan cannot wait for the chance to put his World Cup misery behind him as he targets European success.

The 26-year-old Stoke player, like the rest of his team-mates, was shattered by Ireland's controversial play-off exit in Paris as France squeezed through to what turned out to be a disastrous campaign in South Africa with a helping hand from Thierry Henry.

Whelan said: "Because of what happened in the last campaign, everyone was just hoping for this to come around as soon as possible. Hopefully with this campaign here, everyone can forget about what happened in Paris."

Ireland will return to competitive action for the first time since that infamous night on Friday as they attempt to launch their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign with victory over Armenia in Yerevan.

Andorra head for Dublin's Aviva Stadium four days later, and a maximum points haul would give Giovanni Trapattoni's men just the start they desire, and send a message to Group B rivals Russia and Slovakia.

Whelan added: "We are not going into any campaign thinking, 'Let's go for second'.

"We are definitely going for top and hopefully that's the case.

"We know we have some tough places to go to and we are going to have some hard games, but we can just worry about ourselves. That's what we are going to do and hopefully qualify.

"It doesn't matter if we are playing Armenia or Russia, we will worry about ourselves."


From Belfast Telegraph