Ireland feels positive
Stephen Ireland believes he is close to recapturing his best form and has thanked Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish for the "trust" shown in him.
Midfielder Ireland has been given another chance at the midlands club, after a disappointing first term, and is reaping the benefits of his first elongated spell of games.
Ireland defied an early dead leg to be chosen as the club's official man of the match for the 1-1 home draw with Everton with fans chanting his name. He said: "I feel I'm ready to show my best form now. I'm getting fitter and you get that with a consistent run."
He added: "In the majority of games, I would be feeling like I was coming off no matter how well I was doing.
"I guess that was because I haven't been given the trust. Probably since I first got here, I haven't been given that trust - but I have now thanks to the gaffer.
"I'm in a good place. I'm working as hard as I can, I'm improving game by game and the more confidence I get, the better."
Ireland admitted: "It's a question as well of getting on the same wavelength as some of the other players.
"At Manchester City, I could play passes because I knew where everyone else was but at the moment I need to get on the same wavelength as the others.
"I feel like I'm going in the right direction and the more football I get, it will improve."