Given tips Ireland revival

New Aston Villa arrival Shay Given is hoping that Stephen Ireland will get an opportunity to impress under Alex McLeish.The pair played together at Manchester City before Ireland moved to Villa Park last season and Given is hoping that fans will finally see the midfielder shine after he endured a difficult campaign last season.

“When I joined Manchester City Stephen Ireland was the first name on the sheet,” Given told the Birmingham Mail.

“He’s a fantastic player, and one of the top midfielders in the country when he is on song. Hopefully myself and the new manager can get the best out of him.”

“It’s like a new signing because for whatever reason he didn’t feature at all last season. It has got to come from him as well, but the player that I’ve seen at Man City and that I’ve seen again in training at Villa is a top midfielder.”

Given also claimed that his former Republic of Ireland team-mate was the best trainer during their time together at Manchester City.

He added: “You read different things about him, but all I can talk about is his football and he’s a fantastic footballer. If we can get the best out of him we have a real top player on our hands.”

“At Man City he was one of the best trainers, he puts a real shift in when he’s working.”

“When Villa signed him I thought they’d got a top player, and hopefully we will see that this season.”