What the hell has happened to Aston Villa’s Stephen Ireland?

Aston Villa Midfielder Stephen IrelandIn May 2009 Stephen Ireland was named Manchester City’s player of the year. Things are never plain sailing in football, with a new manager and change in personnel Ireland soon found himself struggling to make the first team. Since then, Ireland has moved to Aston Villa and like the end of his Manchester City career, playing time has been severely limited.

I feel slightly sorry for the Cork born star, Ireland only joined Aston Villa at the start of the season, after being included in the deal that took James Milner away from Villa to Manchester City. It would seem the midfielder has been farmed from club to club allowing little time to settle and regain the form he once had at Eastlands.

With a lack of opportunities at Villa, Speculation surrounding the club suggests that Aston Villa’s new manager Gerard Houllier is willing to allow Stephen Ireland to leave the club in January, providing him with the finances to personalise the team.

It would appear that Stephen Ireland is affected more so than others when it comes to change. Since the departure of Mark Hughes at Manchester City and his move to Villa, he has failed to hold down a first team place and has subsequently fallen down the pecking order at whatever club he found himself at.

With a long list of injuries at Villa, I found it surprising that a fit Ireland was overlooked as Houllier went for youth instead of tried and tested in the games against Fulham and Blackpool. This does not bode well for the 24 year old and would spell out that his days at Villa are numbered. However, Could another move resurrect the career of this talented individual?

It is believed that Ireland would quickly slip in to Roy Hodgson current Liverpool squad, and could make a spectacular partnership alongside captain Steven Gerrard in the Reds midfield. Hodgson has been vocal over his expected transfer activity in the January transfer window, and his desire to improve upon his current Liverpool squad.

Could a move to Anfield be just the ticket Ireland needs in order to regain the form he once enjoyed at Manchester City? Was his rich vein of form at Eastland just a flash in the pan? I guess only time will only tell.

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