Ireland considers ROI return

Former Republic of Ireland midfielder Stephen Ireland is willing to consider ending his international exile.

Last Updated: 15/09/13 at 11:03 Post Comment

Stephen Ireland: Has not played for Ireland in six years

Stephen Ireland: Has not played for Ireland in six years

Former Republic of Ireland midfielder Stephen Ireland is willing to consider ending his international exile under the national team's next manager.

Ireland is attempting to resurrect his career on loan at Stoke this season after falling out of favour at Aston Villa.

His club fortunes are his immediate priority but if his Potters spell proves successful, there could be a route back on to the international stage following the departure of manager Giovanni Trapattoni.

Ireland, 27, has not played for his country since he lied about the death of both of his grandmothers after pulling out of the squad for a European Championship qualifier in the Czech Republic six years ago.

Trapattoni, appointed the following year, attempted to bring him back into the fold but talks proved unsuccessful and Ireland later branded the veteran Italian as "arrogant".

Trapattoni left his post in midweek after his side's World Cup 2014 qualification hopes were all but ended by defeat in Austria, and Ireland would be pleased to take a call from his successor.

He said: "I think I would like to get together and have a chat and try to put everything on the table, put across ideas and just have a good general chat.

"If nothing comes out of it, nothing comes out of it, but I think it would be nice just to have a chat.

"First and foremost it is just Stoke City on my mind.

"I need to get 10, 15, 20 games under my belt first and see how I go with that.

"Then maybe I might get in a position where Ireland want me to play and we could have a further conversation.

"Right now, all that is on my mind is Stoke, getting fit and getting 90 minutes under my belt and getting as many games as possible."

Ireland joined Stoke on a season-long loan on transfer deadline day, a move that reunited him with his former Manchester City boss Mark Hughes.

He made his debut off the bench as the Potters held City to a goalless draw on Saturday.

It was his first competitive appearance since January and his first in the Barclays Premier League since last December.

On that basis, an international recall might be some way off but he hopes his past issues with the national set-up are now firmly in the past.

He said: "I would like to think so.

"It was my decision to leave and it's probably going to be my decision to go back if the manager asks, whoever they appoint.

"But first and foremost it's about my club and we'll have a conversation further down the line if they ever want me to go back.

"It all depends who the new manager is. It's a long time away yet, I think."


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