Manchester City.

Ireland came through the youth ranks at City and was being tipped as the Premier League‘s next best thing, but was soon shown the door when current manager Robert Mancini replaced Mark Hughes.

And the 26-year-old insists there is no animosity between him an Mancini and agrees that it was the right time for him to leave the Etihad.

He told the Daily Mirror: “If I have stayed there I would not have been involved anyway. They have so much quality there was no way I was getting in the team.

“I live in the same area as him [Robert Mancini]. I bump into him occasionally and we have a chat.

“It is completely fine. I understand it was a football decision. It was the right time for me to leave.”

And Ireland, ahead of Villa’s visit to City this weekend,  believes the club’s youth system will be key to the club improving in the Premier League and competing in the top-half of the table again.

“It is paying off having good youth teams. Marc Albrighton, Ciaran Clark and Barry Bannan have all come through the academy and they have all got long careers ahead in the game,” he added.

“We are being encouraged to play football, we are winning or losing in style. It is not good to lose, of course, but we are having a go.

“We are only a few minor details away from being a good side and should be up in the top half. We just need a few things to go our way.”