Aston Villa striker Darren Bent has claimed that Stephen Ireland is an extraordinary footballer, who should be given the playmaker role within the team next season. Aston Villa recently appointed former Norwich city manager Paul Lambert as a replacement for Alex McLeish, who was sacked after the end of the disappointing season for the Midlands club.

Stephen Ireland has been one of the players linked with a move away from the club after failing in many disciplinary areas under Alex McLeish. However, striker Darren Bent has said that Stephen Ireland is one of the best players at the club and he should be played behind the main striker in order to get the best out of him.

The former Manchester City midfielder won the Aston Villa player of the year award that was given by the supporters. Yet, he has been linked with a move to the MLS to play alongside former Arsenal striker Thierry Henry at New York Red Bulls. Darren Bent has said that the abilities of Stephen Ireland is not utilised to the full potential if he is played in the right-wing or left-wing position. He is also not the player to be used as a box to box midfielder, but as a full playmaker.

“There’s no point playing Stevie Ireland one game and then moving him to the right and then taking him out of the team. You’ve got to play Stevie Ireland four or five games in that position and go from there. For me, he’s the best footballer in the squad, and if you want to see the best Stephen Ireland and get the best out of him you need to be playing him,” said Darren Bent. The striker is hoping to return to full fitness prior to the start of the season after missing the Euro 2012.

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