Troubled midfielder pleased to be with the Potters.
Stephen Ireland has admitted that his season long loan spell to Stoke City from Aston Villa has virtually saved his career, Sky Sports reports.
The 27-year-old has endured a nightmare spell at Villa Park since joining in 2010, and has now been given a new lease of life at the Britannia Stadium as he spends the 2013/14 season hoping to impress before his contract with Paul Lambert’s men expires in the summer.
He has been reunited with his former manager at Manchester City, Mark Hughes, and has established himself as a first team regular under the man who famously got the best out of him during their time in the northwest, and he has thanked the manager for allowing him the opportunity to kick start his career.
“The last nine months, maybe, I was training on my own,” Ireland said on a visit to St Teresa’s Catholic School, organised by the club’s Community Trust.
“That’s not very nice for a player to be going through that. It’s tough, it’s mentally draining, you feel not wanted. Pre-season I was on my own again and I came here and it’s been great.
“I’m grateful to Stoke, to the manager, for bringing me here and I am going to make sure I make the most of my opportunity.
“We’re trying to get the ball down and trying to play the right way. It suits me that we are trying to play football, that’s why I am enjoying myself and have got a smile on my face again.”