Ireland targets career rebuild
Stephen Ireland is determined to rebuild his career at Aston Villa after going from player of the year to spare part in barely 12 months at Manchester City.
The Irishman was City's outstanding player in the 2008-09 campaign, and recognised as such by his team-mates, but a year later he found himself being ushered away by new manager Roberto Mancini and with little option but to move on.
He turns 24 on Sunday, and believes by leaving Eastlands as part of the deal which took James Milner to City he has taken his career in the right direction. "I have plenty of personal ambitions," Ireland told www.avfc.co.uk.
"I want to get back to playing the way I can - I haven't played 90 minutes in nearly eight or nine months, which isn't normal really for me.
"I've kind of forgotten the feeling what it is like to come off after a game feeling tired, winning or losing. I'm not used to sitting out for so long.
"So for me, I want to get back to playing at the top of my game and I want to work hard for my team-mates.
"I want to see if my team-mates and myself can push on and achieve something massive this season.
"Hopefully I can come here and build on that and help Aston Villa push on to better targets and reach higher goals. Hopefully I can be of benefit to the team.
"I think we have got a good bunch of young lads here who can go on and achieve something for themselves and for the club as well. We've got a very good squad."