Newcastle Jets coach Gary van Egmond has lauded the integrity of skipper Jobe Wheelhouse after being told he would not play next season.
Wheelhouse cut his 10-year association with his hometown team on Thursday after telling the Jets his heart was not with the club any more.
“We respect his decision, because it has been an honest decision. He could have stayed and been in and around the group, but his heart is not in it,” Van Egmond said at a press conference on Thursday afternoon.
“From that perspective he needs to be congratulated because he has put his hand up and made sure he has been honest with everyone and all we hope for is that he finds exactly what he wants.
“It would have been easier for him to stay in some respects, it would have been very easy for him to go down to Melbourne Heart and collect that contract but he was not going to do that for the wrong reasons and he should be applauded for that.”
Wheelhouse revealed that he had spoken with Van Egmond privately some weeks ago and discovered that he wasn’t in his plans for the future but said that was not the reason for him taking a break from the game.
“There’s other things involved, it’s not just because the Jets didn’t want to keep me, that’s just the tip of the iceberg,” he said.
“Back maybe three months ago, if there was interest from the Jets I would have considered it no doubt because it is my hometown, but I probably would have been doing it for the wrong reasons,” Wheelhouse said.
Earlier this month the 27-year-old midfielder rejected an offer to join the Melbourne Heart.
”I don’t want to go there and just get a pay cheque,” Wheelhouse said.
”They made me a really good offer, but I’m not here for the money. It’s never been about the money.”
Meanwhile, Van Egmond has revealed he might rest some players ahead of this weekend’s crucial clash with Sydney FC at Hunter Stadium but said he was happy that he still had good competition for midfield roles with the return of Ruben Zadkovich from suspension as well as new signing Zenon Caravella pushing for a starting spot.
“We really welcome the fact that Ruben and Josh (Mitchell) are back into the squad this week and the fact that we are getting good competition for places with adding Zenon to the squad,” Van Egmond said.
“It’s good to have competition for places, but we just have to look at players who have done really well, but they might be a little bit tired.
“That definitely applies for some of the younger ones, so we just have to manage them appropriately.
“Just looking at it today, you think to yourself that it might be a case that we need to do that (rest players). I’ll speak to more individuals later and get a bit of a feeling to see where their heads are at.”
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