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Stoke City have completed the loan signing of former Irish international Stephen Ireland from Aston Villa, reports Sky Sports News and RT Sport
The 27-year old midfielder had been informed by manager Paul Lambert that he was surplus to requirements at Villa Park, and Stoke have swooped late to secure the services of the controversial figure. Ireland is understood to have been in search of regular first-team football, which he couldn’t be guaranteed at the Birmingham outfit.
The move reunites Ireland with Mark Hughes, who is a big admirer of the Cobh-born central midfielder, and was his manager at Manchester City. Whether he’ll play regularly for the Potters is another question entirely, but it’s a good eperienced midfield signing for Stoke as they look to consolidate their place in the top division.
Ireland had yet to feature for Villa this season and had previously spent an unsuccessful loan period at Newcastle United.
Stoke Chief Executive Tony Scholes said of the Ireland capture;
“Stephen is a player that Mark knows really well and when the opportunity arose he was keen to add him to his midfield and attacking options.
“Arguably the most successful period of Stephen’s career to date was when he played for Mark at Manchester City and we hope that he can rediscover that form.”
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