Ireland joined Aston Villa for £8million in 2010, but was soon phased out of first-team plans at the club.
The midfielder admits that he became so isolated at Villa Park that he failed to even keep up to date with the club's results or where they were in the table.
The Irishman sealed a loan move to the Britannia Stadium on deadline day, and earlier this week revealed his hopes that the move could be made permanent.
"I was panicking. I started to fear the worst," Ireland told the Daily Express.
"Then I got the call to say get to Stoke in the next 40 minutes. A massive excitement came over me. I got in the car and drove as fast as I could.
"I could have lost my mind. I felt so distant from Aston Villa that I didn't know their results, didn't know where they were in the table."