Stephen Ireland has been told by Roberto Mancini to ‘change his head’ for next season or his career at Manchester may be over come the summer, which is a scenario that has been well-backed by online betting punters.
Mancini has openly expressed his feelings of the Irishman’s poor state of mind, and as a result must buckle down and attempt to resurrect the great form he showed a year ago.
Ireland has been rotated in and out of the squad this season due to the deterioration of his form, and because of this has been unobserved as much by the scarf-wearing Italian.
Due to these circumstances, the 23-year-old midfielder, whose name will be at the heart of this summer’s transfer rumours, has been left seriously contemplating his future at the Eastland’s club. Ireland told the Guardian of his frustration and bewilderment at his current situation:
“A lot of frustration is bottled up because I have not played as much as I would have liked.”
The former Republic of Ireland international is one of the higher profile players at the club, along with Craig Bellamy and Shaun Wright-Phillips, who are also treading a thin line at City due to poor relations with Mancini.
Roberto Mancini believes Ireland can accomplish his football ambitions at the City of Manchester, but has urged the player to focus on the job at hand. Mancini has had one-to-one meetings with Ireland and the player’s representatives will also hold talks with chief executive Gary Cooks before any decision is made over his future. The Italian has told of his admiration for Ireland in the Guardian, explaining how he would love for the midfielder to stay at City, but needs to regain form and concentration:
“I spoke to Stephen two weeks ago but we must speak again soon. I don’t know what he is thinking about his future but, for me, Stephen is a fantastic player and if he can change his head I think he can start to play like last season [2008-09] again.”
In the 08/09 season Ireland was ever present for City. The midfielder was the first name on the team sheet every weekend. He appeared 35 times in the premier league alone, scoring 9 times as well. That season he also showed fans and pundits alike what he is capable of, and the potential he has within him. However, this season has been very dissimilar. Ireland only managed to appear 22 times (6 from the bench) and only netting an unsatisfactory 2 goals. Stephen Ireland is a top player, whether he was given the chance or not is up to the fans and manager to decide. He does possess skill, fine movement (on and off the ball), and he can certainly fashion and score goals at will.
So where has it all gone wrong for the City player? He has been known to be a bit of a hot-head and clumsy at times (A player at 21 years of age just doesn’t retire from international football for no reason). He seems to have a representation of being trouble off the pitch, but when on it he creates it for the opposing team. Mancini’s ‘Change his head’ claim maybe viewed by some as a bit over elaborate. Some may even think he has been treated unfairly by the boss, stating he is not given enough chances to prove his worth to the team. However, many will feel that Mancini’s diagnosis of the player is accurate. Fans and maybe even Mancini himself believes he needs to show more, as the team looks to evolve for the better next season.
Ireland will have to modify something to his game if he wishes to stay at the club for another year, what it is…who knows. Roberto Mancini is certainly looking to add to his squad next season, as he and his City side set their sights on domestic and European bliss.
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