Stephen’s final call on Ireland stance

STEPHEN IRELAND of Aston Villa has reiterated that he has no intention of playing international football for the Republic of Ireland again.

Asked if he was tempted to return to the international fold, Ireland said: “No, not at all. I won’t ever play for Ireland again.

“I am just so happy not playing international football. I haven’t missed it. Not one bit. The matches come and go and I get to spend more time with my children.”

The 24-year-old, speaking to a Sunday newspaper, also faced down criticism recent pictures of his house have caused, claiming to be sensible when it comes to money.

“I have had the same financial advisor since I was 15. Me and Jess operate on a minimum monthly budget and I like to think I am clever when it comes to money.”

Ireland criticised Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini when he left the club this summer and hadn’t changed his views.

“I can’t soften what I said then, I could have said a lot more. There was a lot of stuff going on in the background that I didn’t mention.

“I held back because I had to sign that confidentiality clause (to receive his compensation).”

Ireland said he was looking forward to working under his new Aston Villa boss Gerard Houllier.

“I have looked forward to Gerard coming,” said Ireland.

“He’s come in and said, ‘Look, I’ve just got three or four rules, you live by them’. And I think with Gary McAllister and Gordon Cowans, he has an excellent back-up.

“When I came here, I put pressure on myself to go out and show what I can do. But the players and staff have told me I don’t have to be like that, I don’t have to prove it all in the one game or one training session. The goals, the assists, they’ll come. What matters is I focus on helping Aston Villa to get good results.”


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