Stoke new boy Stephen Ireland admits his time at Aston Villa is all but over
Stephen Ireland admits his time at Aston Villa is as good as over after joining Stoke City on loan.
By Pete O'Rourke - Follow me: @skysportspeteo
Last Updated: 12/09/13 11:51am
Ireland left Villa for Stoke on transfer deadline day after finding himself frozen out of the first-team picture under Paul Lambert.
The 27-year-old, who has joined Stoke on a season-long loan, is in the final year of his contract at Villa and he accepts he is likely to leave the club on a permanent basis next summer.
Ireland says he would be interested in a move to Stoke on a full-time basis after being encouraged by his first impressions of the club.
Asked if he thought his spell at Villa was as good as over, Ireland told Sky Sports: "I would think so, although I am still officially contracted to them.
"If I do well at Stoke and they want me at the end of the loan spell - and as I will be out of contract - I think that, yes, my Villa career is effectively over.
"I would [consider staying at Stoke permanently], as my first impressions of the club have been fantastic. Everybody has been so welcoming and there seems to be a great buzz about the place.
"I just can't wait to be a part of it and start playing again on a regular basis."
Ireland admits he found it frustrating to find himself as an outcast at Villa, but he bears no grudges against Lambert.
"It is hard as player as you always want to play," added Ireland. "I appreciate though that football is all about opinions and money, so sometimes clubs and managers change the way they are going and sometimes you are deemed surplus to requirements.
"So although it was extremely frustrating as I had been the fans' player of the year under Alex McLeish, it never quite worked out for me under Paul Lambert even though I believed I had a great deal to offer the team.
"However, it wasn't to be, so I have acted professionally in keeping myself fit as I understand that these things happen to players during their career."
The attacking midfielder is now hoping to kick-start his career again at Stoke and he is confident he can recapture the form he showed at Manchester City which earmarked him as one of the best young players in the Premier League.
"I have got so much to prove to myself and the footballing world," continued Ireland.
"I am hungrier than ever to prove the doubters wrong and prove Mark Hughes and Stoke right in their decision to sign me, I can't wait for the games to start."
Ireland, who is hoping to make his debut against former club Manchester City this weekend, claims the presence of his former boss at the Etihad, Mark Hughes, was a big factor in his decision to move to the Britannia Stadium.
Ireland arguably enjoyed the best spell in his career under Hughes' stewardship and he believes the Welshman can get the best out of him again.
"I really enjoyed working under him and his team at City and they got the best out of me," said Ireland.
"I am hoping to recreate that and more for the faith they have shown in me.
"He helped develop my game and had confidence in me which really helps a player, training was always enjoyable and varied.
"He gets players wanting to play for him."