Next Game

Everton v Stoke

Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 10:00

Friendly Match

Ireland: Stoke move saved me

Stephen Ireland admits his loan move to Stoke City has proved a godsend after a nightmare year at Aston Villa.

Last Updated: 06/11/13 at 12:27 Post Comment

Stephen Ireland: Keen to impress at Stoke and earn a permanent deal

Stephen Ireland: Keen to impress at Stoke and earn a permanent deal

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Ireland joined the Potters for the 2013-14 campaign after ending last term training on his own, and he hopes to earn a longer-term deal at the Britannia Stadium with his Villa contract expiring at the end of the season.

He has already established himself as one of Mark Hughes' preferred midfield options and is grateful for the chance to resurrect his Premier League career.

"The last nine months, maybe, I was training on my own," Ireland said on a visit to St Teresa's Catholic School, organised by the club's Community Trust.

"That's not very nice for a player to be going through that. It's tough, it's mentally draining, you feel not wanted. Pre-season I was on my own again and I came here and it's been great.

"I'm grateful to Stoke, to the manager, for bringing me here and I am going to make sure I make the most of my opportunity.

"We're trying to get the ball down and trying to play the right way. It suits me that we are trying to play football, that's why I am enjoying myself and have got a smile on my face again.

"This is a big campaign for me because I have to earn a contract, here or somewhere else. That's my target. It's in my hands and my performances will reward me with my next club and contract.

"In terms of fitness, I feel I've got up to scratch faster than I thought I would have. I thought it would take a couple of months, but it's only taken a few weeks.

"I've started four games and I want to make sure I start the next 10 or 15, but at the back of my mind is Ireland. I would like to get together with Martin O'Neill or Roy Keane and have a chat."

Ireland admitted that smile widened even further on Saturday against Southampton when keeper Asmir Begovic scored after a matter of seconds, although his aimless punt which beat Artur Boruc was not enough to secure victory in the 1-1 draw.

But Ireland revealed Begovic was embarrassed more than excited to have joined the small band of goalkeepers to score in a Premier League game.

He added: "He hasn't really said much about it because I think he's a bit embarrassed in a kind of humble way.

"I actually couldn't stop laughing. I couldn't believe I was actually on the field to witness a goal like that.

"You always see these things on Sky Sports or on Youtube but I never thought I would ever be on the field to witness something like that in a Premier League game after only a few seconds. I couldn't believe what I was seeing."

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

D

on't go to England at your age, you'll either be mugged or not appreciated. Or made to lump the ball long to a bloke who looks like a mascot.

megabrow (cufc)
Beckenbauer warns Schweinsteiger

F

rom the headline I presumed he meant boots, pants, jim-jams, toothbrush and paste, passport, tickets, premier inn long-term package, Scouse-English-Portuguese-German dictionary, 'How to be a 9 and 3/4' by B. Rodgers, few dozen tins of food and Evian because you can never be sure about the local food/water...

KevinBoatang
Firmino has 'everything' for PL - Willian

H

e looked like he was playing with a plastic pound shop ball in the wind against Juve, his passing was so bad.

paddy7s
Sergio Ramos: Exactly What United Need

Footer 365

Guardiola will let Schweini decide future

Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola has told Manchester United target Bastian Schweinsteiger he can make up his own mind on his future.

Dean Hammond signs new deal with Leicester City

Leicester midfielder Dean Hammond has signed a new contract with the club after his previous deal expired.

Giggs urges youngsters to impress

Manchester United assistant manager Ryan Giggs has urged the club's youngsters to seize their chance to impress boss Louis van Gaal.

Mail Box

Nani's Failure Still Leaves A Sour Taste

It's a decent afternoon Mailbox, with thoughts on Paulinho, Nani, the future of women's football and yet more of your annoyances. These will be the last of them...

Media Must Maintain Women's Momentum

England being English was tough luck but the media must build on the increased interest in the women's game. Also, mails on Turan, United aiming too high and BAPs...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company