Anfield

Next Game

Liverpool v Stoke

Saturday, 29 November 2014, 15:00

Barclays Prem

Britannia Stadium

Last Game

Stoke 1 - 2 Burnley

Saturday, 22 November 2014, 15:00

Barclays Prem

Ireland: Hughes saved me

Stephen Ireland credits Mark Hughes with saving his career as he prepares to sign a new long-term contract at Stoke City.

Last Updated: 31/03/14 at 09:47 Post Comment

Stephen Ireland: Poised to pen a new three-year deal

Stephen Ireland: Poised to pen a new three-year deal

More of the games that matter

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

The midfielder admits he was going nowhere after becoming stuck in a rut at Aston Villa, where he struggled to produce his best following a 2010 move from Manchester City.

His cause was not helped by the fact that he played under five different managers, with continuity sadly lacking.

Ireland was, however, offered a lifeline by Stoke last summer, on an initial loan agreement, and his fine form under Hughes' guidance has seen him land a permanent switch in January and the offer of fresh terms.

The 27-year-old said when pressed on whether the Potters boss had rescued his career: "Absolutely, those are the first words that came out of my mouth when I got the call.

"I would have done anything to get the chance to come here. I'm really grateful that I have. I'm 27 and there's so much more I want to do in football.

"I'm still exactly the same player. I've always had a lot to offer, I've always been enthusiastic and hungry.

"But the Villa thing is a really long, strange story, purely because I had five managers in two-and-a-half seasons.

"For some reason, as soon as they walked through the door, they decided I wasn't for them - no matter about all my good intentions. It didn't matter.

"In the summer, it was difficult for me to know where I was going to be. Would I be playing in the Championship? Would I be going on loan? My time at Villa wasn't very nice, you're going to lose a bit of passion when you train on your own for six months.

"When you're on your own with a football for that amount of time, you wonder what direction you're going to go in.

"What direction can you go in? My hands were tied. Thankfully I've come here and things are starting to go well.

"I just thank Stoke for bringing me in and taking care of me. I want to repay them with my performances."

On a possible new three-year deal, Ireland added: "Yes, we're in talks. They've been going on for a while but there's no pressure from the club at the moment.

"There's no major rush right now. I think something will be done pretty soon."

More of the games that matter

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

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

L

oved the article. i remember at school, after failing an exam, I would become obscenely secretly happy if I discover that others failed as well. Misery loves company...Now here is to hoping Chelsea joins the party and Stoke city wins the league...Cheers!

gabu
The Premier League: As Crazy As A Bag Of Snakes

C

haos reached its ultimate reckoning last weekend with Tony Hibbert looking assured at left back and Osman looking like a cultured ball playing midfielder before busting a gut to get to the back post for a Samuel Eto'o ball. Different chaos but chaos. If Kone scores the winner tonight I fear the world will end.

jelasfirsttouch
The Premier League: As Crazy As A Bag Of Snakes

A

beautiful demonstration of why stats mean diddly-squat in football.

cheshire-gooner
WhoScored's PL Team Of 2014 So Far...

Footer 365

Brandao jailed over headbutt on Motta

Brazilian striker Brandao jailed and fined 20,000 euros (£15,850) for headbutting Paris Saint-Germain's Thiago Motta.

Jack Wilshere has had ankle surgery and the Arsenal man will be out for around three months

Arsenal will be without Jack Wilshere for around three months after the midfielder underwent ankle surgery.

International football: England up seven places in latest FIFA rankings

England have jumped seven places to 13th place in the latest FIFA rankings following a six-match winning run.

Mail Box

Arsenal Fans Are Full Of Hope Again...

Arsenal fans have been sucked back into believing Wenger can bring the glory years back after beating Borussia Dortmund. Plus, more on Liverpool's worrying decline...

Makes Sense To Make Gerrard Liverpool Manager

That's the thoughts of one Mailboxer, who wants Jamie Carragher as defensive coach. Plus views on Arsenal, Malmo v Juventus, Alexis Sanchez & tremendous improvement...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property