Stephen Ireland has started just five of Villa’s 14 Premier League games this season, finishing only one of them. Furthermore, “Ireland’s relationship with manager Gerard Houllier was called into question when the Frenchman publicly criticised the player at the beginning of this month. Houllier said: He needs to work harder. The skill is one thing, but you need to compete.” It would certainly seem that the former Manchester City midfielder is being treated badly at his new club; some would even go as far to say that the Irish man is being forced out.
The verbal attack would have surely offended and shocked Ireland. Sources close to the Villa man feel the midfielder is being treated completely unfairly and that the incident has proven to be the catalyst in the player’s decision to leave his current club as soon as possible.
This said, Ireland’s future most likely lies elsewhere, or not. On Sunday Gerard Houllier went full turn and said he was pleased with the midfielder’s progress, Houllier adds, “He has been very good, he has been training hard and he has been playing well.” Furthermore when asked if there were any truth in the rumours that Ireland may be leaving in January, Houllier said firmly “No, no, no.”
The whole situation seems very mixed; the only people certain of Ireland’s future are the player himself and his manager, Gerard Houllier. For me Ireland is a player that needs to be loved and told constantly that he is the best. I’m therefore not surprised with the notion that Ireland does in fact have a bad attitude as things are not going as well as the midfielder would want.
I do not think Houllier is the type of manager to pander to his players’ need to feel appreciated. Maybe I’m wrong. Yet, this would allude to the idea that the player has actually been poorly treated and is justified in his want to find the Villa exit door come January.
What do you think? The whole situation is rather convoluted and the mixed messages that seem to emerge on a daily basis would portray that behind the scenes there is the same confusion, thus leading me to the conclusion that neither Ireland nor manager is certain of the player’s future.
If you like what I’ve written why not follow me on twitter