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Hughes: Ireland return unlikely

MANCHESTER CITY manager Mark Hughes doesn’t see Stephen Ireland returning to international action with the Republic of Ireland any time soon.

The Cobh-born player starred for City in their 1-0 win over Wolves on Saturday and Irish boss Giovanni Trapattoni was there to watch Ireland and his Irish colleagues Richard Dunne and Shay Given, as well as Wolves’ Andy Keogh and Kevin Doyle.

However, Hughes poured cold water on the prospects of Ireland making a return to boost the Republic’s chances of getting to the World Cup next year in South Africa.

"His view of international football, as far as I am aware, is still the same," said Hughes. "At this moment and at this stage of his career and the way he is developing he feels he needs to concentrate on club football. In the future, who knows? That’s his view."

Hughes confessed he hadn’t been aware the Republic of Ireland boss was in attendance. "I wasn’t aware he (Trapattoni) was here," said Hughes. "But I think Stephen is a credit to himself and his ability is beyond question. On the strength of his performances last year and the way he has started this year, it augurs well for us in that we have an outstanding young talent."