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.


Aston Villa midfielder Stephen Ireland has said that he will play through the pain barrier in the match against Tottenham hoping that it will help his team get at least three points in the home match. Aston Villa are currently in a relegation battle along with the likes of QPR and Bolton.

Even though it is still a long shot that they might be relegated to the Championship, the fact that Alex McLeish has been part of a relegated side in the last couple of seasons has Aston Villa in the major pressure. Stephen Ireland recently revealed that he has been injured, but will play through the pain barrier against Tottenham.

Stephen Ireland has been criticised a lot by former Aston Villa manager Gerard Houllier and calm manager Alex McLeish. However, it is extremely great to see him giving his all to help Aston Villa stay in the Premier league. The midfielder is currently suffering from his injury, which would have normally kept him out of the team for the remaining two matches. The former Manchester City midfielder also received a call up for the Euro 2012 in the Republic of Ireland squad, and he has said that helping Aston Villa stay in the division is the most important priority right now.

“I will play with injuries and I will try my hardest for him. I’m grateful for the opportunity he’s given me. We have two very important games left. A lot of players would (declare themselves unfit), but we know how hard it is. We have to make sure we get out of this and kick on. We should be nowhere near the bottom of the table. We have underachieved, everyone knows that,” said Stephen Ireland ahead of the match with Tottenham. Tottenham are fighting to stay in touch with Arsenal in the top four.


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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