Phil started his career at Ipswich, signing professional terms in July 1990, and went on to make his senior debut against Bristol Rovers in October 1991
He made 92 appearances and scored two goals during his five year spell at Portman Road, helping the Blues win promotion back to the top-flight and went on to play regularly in the first two seasons of the newly Premier League.
In March 1995, he was sold to Middlesbrough for £300,000, but he made just 28 appearnaces during his two-year spell at Boro, before he joined Oxford United for £170,000 in May 1997.
Whelan spent three seasons at Oxford, making over 50 appearances for them and also had a brief loan spell at Rotherham United in 1999.
He finished his playing career at Southend, spending three seasons at Roots Hall, where he made over 100 appearances for the club, before retiring at the end of the 2002–03 season.
Since retiring, he became a teacher and moved to Cheshire.