Ireland - I felt unwanted
Stephen Ireland has spoken of the frustration he felt towards the end of his time with Manchester City.
Last Updated: 20/08/10 8:42pm
Aston Villa midfielder Stephen Ireland has spoken of the frustration he felt towards the end of his time with Manchester City, and warned James Milner that it will be hard to hold down a regular place in the team at Eastlands.
After protracted negotiations, Ireland moved to Villa Park earlier this week as part of the big-money deal that took Milner in the opposite direction.
Ireland had fallen out of favour during the second half of last season, having previously been a key player under Mark Hughes.
He does not believe he was given a fair chance after Roberto Mancini replaced Hughes as manager and admits it was a difficult period.
"I did feel unwanted at Manchester City," said the 23-year-old. "I was banging my head against a brick wall despite what I had done in training.
"I just went with the reserves, worked hard in the gym and kept as active as possible.
"Without a shadow of doubt the situation I found myself in will happen a lot at Manchester City with all the high-profile players they have at the club.
"At Manchester City sitting on the bench I didn't feel part of the team. I was neither happy or sad if we lost.
"I'm still young and hopefully Villa will get the best of me and I am now looking forward to the season."
Ireland believes Milner may have to get used to not being a certain starter at Manchester City, considering the wealth of options available to Mancini.
"I can see why he wanted to go to Manchester City. He can see the attraction of the move and the opportunity to become more established and become a superstar.
"But he faces a challenge of holding down a regular first-team place.
"I may have been forced out but I couldn't be more happy to be at Aston Villa."
Ireland hopes his move to Villa will see him emulate Richard Dunne, who was deemed surplus to requirements at Eastlands but then turned out to be one of the leading defenders in the league last season.
"Richard Dunne is a good example of what can happen after leaving Manchester City to join Villa," Ireland explained.
"A year on I can see how happy he is at Villa and I'm hoping that I will be as happy in a year's time.
"Richard was a huge part of Manchester City and it was a great shock to see him leave.
"It was as big a shock to him as everyone else but he could not have come to a better club as he proved with his performances last season.
"For me this is a positive, as this is exactly I want it to be."