Ireland puts boot in Elano
Stephen Ireland has issued a withered attack in the direction of former Manchester City team-mate Elano.
Last Updated: 12/11/09 1:01pm
Stephen Ireland has issued a withered attack in the direction of former Manchester City team-mate Elano, claiming his departure has had a positive affect on Robinho.
Speculation has been rife of late that Robinho could be on his way out of Eastlands as talk of a January switch to Barcelona gathers pace.
City have since rejected any such conjecture and Ireland claims the Brazilian is happy in Manchester. The Irish midfielder believes Robinho's compatriot Elano, sold to Galatasaray in the summer, was a disruptive influence on a number of the club's South American contingent.
"I'm not being harsh on Elano, and players like that, but them leaving has been a real blessing for Robinho because he has really come out of his shell.
"They all used to stay in this little clan and you didn't see much of Robinho. But now he's different. He really thinks deeply about the club.
"He seems really happy and contented, even his family seems settled and he seems to be really at home.
"I've no indication where this speculation is coming from - maybe because he's a big-name player.
"No way does he seem to want to go somewhere else, definitely not."
Robinho has barely featured for City this season due to an ankle injury. Ireland, such a key figure last season, has also seen limited action of late after losing his place in the team when ill.
The 23-year-old midfielder admitted that hits him hard, and contrasted his approach with the likes of Elano.
"I worry because I take my job so seriously," he added.
"I love my job and this is where I want to play my football. It's just me as a person. I've always been that way.
"If I have a bad training session, or things don't go well, I dwell on it for a few days and I'm inside my head thinking about it. It's because I care so much.
"The first ever meeting the gaffer had at the training ground he gave a speech
saying, 'We are going to do things differently and either you get on board or you're going to find yourself in a hard place and it's going to be very difficult'.
"Some people didn't change. Some players were 28 to 29 and it was all new to them, this new regime. How can you get to that age and not have a regime of being professional? You do the simple things right. That's what the gaffer's said to us."
Ireland indicated that Elano was the ringleader of the players who made things difficult for Hughes, saying problems began when the Brazilian let praise go to his head early in his first season at the club.
"There was all this talk about Elano and players like that," Ireland said. "They were getting all the credit but I didn't think they had done enough to earn that credit. I didn't think he had done enough to earn that credit.
"Elano had done seven or eight games and, suddenly, everyone was saying, 'We haven't seen a player like this in a long time'.
"He took all the praise and publicity and I felt, as hard as I was working - even when I was giving 110% - I never got that recognition."