Stephen Ireland was dropped for the match against Swansea by Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish, but the Scotsman has said that Stephen Ireland does have a future at Aston Villa, but he needs to be patient.

Stephen Ireland arrived from Manchester City in a swap deal involving James Milner, and has been touch and go during his short career with the Midland club. Alex McLeish arrived the Aston Villa manager in the summer and he has been making some changes to the team.

One among them was dropping Stephen Ireland for the match against Swansea, as he believed that the midfielder was lacking fitness. Alex McLeish confirmed that it was a decision taken based upon the fitness and not the form of the player. He also said that Ireland needs to be patient, as he has a great future at Aston Villa. There have been many speculations that Stephen Ireland could be sold in the January transfer window or at least loan to other clubs. However, Alex McLeish dismissed such baseless rumours by saying that Stephen Ireland continues to be a part of his plans.

“He’s here. At the end of the day, in terms of wanting him to go, I don’t need anybody to leave this club because we are kind of thin on numbers anyway. Don’t think I’m criticising Stevie but I’m still looking for the players to give me that wee bit extra. I can’t really loan anybody else out. I’ve still got hopes for Stevie,” Alex McLeish said when asked about Stephen Ireland’s future at Aston Villa. Ireland has been limited to few and far appearances in this season. So far, he has made only five appearances in the league and cup. He still has almost 3 years left on his current contract signed in August 2010.

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