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86.3% pass success: The promotion winner attracting interest from Blackburn Rovers

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After Stewart Downing, Blackburn now seem to have turned their attention to another free agent midfield veteran, with The Lancashire Telegraph reporting that the club have enquired about the availability of Glenn Whelan.

The Ireland international is available on a free transfer following his release from play-off promotion winners Aston Villa at the end of the season, and Rovers are reportedly interested in bringing the midfielder to Ewood Park.

Blackburn manager Tony Mowbray is thought to be keen to add experience to what he believes is a promising young squad, as they look to push on from a promising first season back in the Championship in the coming campaign.

But what would Whelan himself bring to the Rovers side?

Here, Football League World puts the spotlight on the Irishman to find out.

Despite now being 35-years-old, Whelan still clearly has the legs in him to make a significant contribution, as shown by his 36 appearances for Villa in the season just gone.

If Whelan was to move to Rovers, then it seems that he could certainly make a difference to Tony Mowbray’s side.

It has been suggested that Mowbray is keen to instil a slicker, more attractive style of passing play on this side, and Whelan would help do that.

The midfielder averaged a similar amount of passes to the three regular centre midfield options currently available to Rovers – Corry Evans, Lewis Travis and Richie Smallwood – and interestingly it was Whelan who ended the season with the highest pass success rate of any of the quartet. It is also worth noting that while Travis, Evans and Smallwood provided just one assist between them last season, Whelan alone was able to set up three goals for his Villa teammates.

As well as playing it around in a slicker style, Whelan would also offer a route one option if necessary, with only Smallwood (3.1) narrowly bettering Whelan among the midfielders in regards to the average number of long balls played.

By contrast however, all three of Evans, Travis and Smallwood made more tackles than Whelan, suggesting that Whelan’s creativity could be a perfect foil to the more robust nature of one of his potential midfield partners at Ewood next season.

Eyebrows may have been raised when Rovers interest in Whelan was revealed, but it seems as though this may not be such a bad idea, particularly if Mowbray is to bring about change in style to his side.


UCLan Sports Journalism graduate, been writing for Football League World since March 2019. I've previously worked for the likes of Blackburn Rovers and Opta, among others.

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Article title: 86.3% pass success: The promotion winner attracting interest from Blackburn Rovers

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