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Ex-Liverpool and Ireland U21 defender returns to English football after US stint

Corey Whelan has been signed by Wigan Athletic.

Corey Whelan represented Liverpool at U23 level and was capped by the Ireland U21s.
Corey Whelan represented Liverpool at U23 level and was capped by the Ireland U21s.
Image: PA/INPHO

FORMER REPUBLIC OF Ireland U21 international Corey Whelan is back in English football.

The versatile 23-year-old defender has been signed by Wigan Athletic on a contract until the end of the season, having trained with the club over the past week.

Whelan spent the last 18 months in America, where he played for USL Championship outfit Phoenix Rising. He made the move across the Atlantic after being released by Liverpool in the summer of 2019.

“I’m buzzing to be here,” the Chester-born player told his new club’s official website. “It’s been a little bit of a lay-off for me being overseas, but I’m excited to be here. I’ve enjoyed my first week here and happy to get pen to paper and be a Wigan Athletic player.

“It’s always been a massive club for me whilst I have been growing up. It’s a chance for me to play games for such a big club and I know a few of the lads here already. In the end it was a no-brainer for me. I’m happy to get the deal over the line and I can’t wait to get started.”

Despite captaining the club’s U23 side and being rewarded with a new contract when he turned 20, Whelan was unable to make a first-team breakthrough during his time at Liverpool.

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He did experience competitive senior football, however, with loan spells at Yeovil Town and Crewe Alexandra, which allowed him to clock up a total of 23 appearances in League Two.

Whelan represented Ireland up to U21 level. He earned 11 caps during Noel King’s reign as manager, the last of which came in the European Championship qualifying defeat to Germany in October 2018.

Wigan have been in administration since last July, which led to a 12-point deduction that resulted in their relegation from the Championship. The Latics are currently in League One’s relegation zone, a point adrift of safety ahead of today’s meeting with Fleetwood Town. 

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About the author:

Paul Dollery

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