The manager of Stoke City, Mark Hughes, doesn’t think that Stephen Ireland is ready to make a comeback to international arena.
Ireland has been out of international football since the last 6 years. In 2007, he had withdrawn his name from the Republic of Ireland squad ahead of a match against Czech Republic saying that his grandmother was dead. But, later on, it was found out that he had lied. The actual reason behind his withdrawal was his girlfriend who had gone through miscarriage.
The 27 years old attacking midfielder had to face a lot of criticism due to that incident and he has not featured for Republic of Ireland since then.
Recently, there were some reports that Ireland might make his comeback in international football by featuring for Republic of Ireland in the upcoming World Cup qualifying games against Azerbaijan and Israel, but, those reports eventually proved to be wrong as Ireland didn’t get included in the Republic of Ireland squad for those two games.
According to Hughes, Ireland is getting better, but, he is certainly not at his peak at the moment and he needs some more time to get ready for international games.
The Stoke City boss said, “I don’t think he is at the level he is capable of reaching. Yes, his form has got better, but, still, it’s a bit early for him to return to international football.”
“However, he is ready for a conversation regarding his comeback.”
“I think a permanent manager needs to be appointed first. Thereafter, Stephen can have a chat and go ahead.”
Ireland had made his international debut against Sweden in 2006. He had come to play as a substitute in that game.
Ireland has so far made 6 appearances for Republic of Ireland and has found the net 4 times.