Alan Pardew has today played down the word on Stephen Ireland – that he’s a very difficult player to handle.
Stephen Ireland – will he be smiling like this in the summer?
Stephen has had a tough time of things over the last 18 months in football, since he’s fallen out with both of his previous managers, Italian Roberto Mancini at Manchester City and Frenchman Gerard Houllier at Aston Villa.
In fact the Newcastle manager still thinks Ireland has a big future in the Premier League – and that may be a hint that Pardew will still push to sign the Irishman in the summer.
One problem with that is that Ireland was fit to play only in two games for Newcastle since he arrived on January 31st, and there has to be some concerns about his injury record.
As far as his personal behavior at the Newcastle club, Alan Pardew saw no problems at all with the 24 year-old:
“I didn’t see that at all when he was here. I didn’t see it,” “If there was one thing about him here, he just had constant hits with injuries.”
“That’s going to take a toll on your character a little bit, and he was a little bit down when he left the other day, and I can understand that.”
“The summer is important for him, it’s important he gets himself injury-free and has a good feeling about himself. But he’s a fantastic player and he’s still got a big future in the Premier League.”
We’ve always thought Stephen was an excellent player, and good players don’t become ordinary overnight.
Ireland’s form at his two former clubs would not have been helped by him not getting along with the managers, and not being given much playing time either.
The news is that Ireland was outstanding in training on Tyneside, and was even showing some signs of that form in his short two appearances for the club.
Alan was asked directly if he was going to sign the Cork County born player in the summer:
“If I’m honest I haven’t really given it any thought this week,”
“I’m obviously disappointed that I’ve lost him because I felt I had a good feeling with him and that he had a good feeling with me.”
“That’s very important with a player of his ability and character.” “But where we go from here I’ve got to be honest, I haven’t really thought about it.”
The news is that Aston Villa are desperate to unload Ireland in the summer, and may even take a fee as low as £4M from Newcastle.
To put that in context, Newcastle lost Carroll but then get Stephen Ireland in, and still have £31M left from the Carroll transfer fee to spend.
£4M for Ireland would seem a bargain, but he’s also on wages of £65K/week, so that may present some difficulties, but Newcastle could probably get close that that for a player of Ireland’s capabilities.
With the comments on Ireland’s ability above from the Newcastle manager, you have to think that Pardew will push to sign him this summer, and at £4M he could turn out to be another bargain buy for the Magpies.
What do you think about this?