The Jambos battler has been an international for his nation since 2008. Mick McCarthy has handed him the opportunity to go eighth in the all-time Irish caps leaderboard.
He has made 87 so far and appearances 88 and 89 could be on the horizon.
Whelan has earned his Ireland call-up
Cascarino is currently one place above him on 88. If Whelan only features once, he’ll match him, but if he features in both games, he’ll go above him.
Cascarino was brilliant for Ireland, featuring at one European Championship and two World Cups between 1988-1994.
Whelan deserves his chance to potentially emulate him. He has been a brilliant Irish player for over a decade now, but more importantly, he’s been brilliant for Hearts.
He’s brought experience to their midfield and great passing ability. The 35-year-old can slow a game down with ease or pick the pace up with quick feet and passing.
He could go as high as joint-eighth in the all-time Ireland list over the international break, with the likes of Robbie Keane, Shay Given, Damien Duff and Aidan McGeady ahead of him.
Whelan deserves this big chance and hopefully he gets it, as he’s been excellent for Hearts since arriving in Gorgie.