It looks like Stephen Ireland will make his debut in Newcastle’s tough game on Tuesday night against Manchester United.
Stephen Ireland – makes his debut next Tuesday night
Stephen arrived on Tyneside on January 31st, which is 10 weeks ago last Monday, and it was the same day that Andy Carroll was sensationally sold to Liverpool for a cool £35M.
Alan Pardew was well aware that Stephen had a knee injury at the time, and he knew he wouldn’t be playing for a while, but not for this long, surely.
Newcastle do not have to pay anything to Aston Villa until Stephen actually plays for Newcastle, and it looks like it’s a play-for-pay loan deal, which in the circumstances is very good.
But Stephen has only 6 games left to prove himself now at the Tyneside club, although he may have been impressive in the training he has done since he arrived.
Stephen is one of the casualties of Gerard Houllier taking over the management job at Aston Villa, and he knows he now has no future at Villa Park.
And Alan Pardew has said today he thinks there is no pressure on Stephen to prove himself as a player, but he has to show he can do the job for Newcastle.
This is what Alan said about Stephen today:
“I don’t think there is pressure on him as a player, he has already proven he is a very good player at Manchester City,” “The question with Stephen is whether he can do it in a black-and-white shirt.”
“We’ve got this period between now and the end of the season where he has to show he can.” “If we don’t see it in the next six games, it’s highly unlikely we are going to bring him here permanently.”
“He has to be comfortable at the club and we have to be comfortable with him. This is a very important period for him. He will get a bit of the Manchester United game and then hopefully he can feature more heavily after that.”
“He hasn’t featured yet, he’s been injured since he got here, and we hope he’s going to feature heavily in these last six games. That will really beef up our offensive capability and, if I’m honest, it needs it.”
“Shola should be okay for the Manchester United game which is a big relief. We won’t risk him if he isn’t right but Stephen Ireland will be involved. He won’t start but he’ll be on the bench.”
We need to see Ireland play somewhere near his best form, and soon too, although he will be very short of match practice, having not played a game since last December.
But let’s hope he can play well for Newcastle in these last 6 games, and score a few goals too.
If he can do that, then it looks like Newcastle could well sign this player for around £8M in the summer, with an alternative being a season long loan deal for him next season on Tyneside.