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Friday 21 September 2018

Ireland's keen for a chat with new men

Stephen Ireland. Picture credit: Clive Rose/Getty Images
Stephen Ireland. Picture credit: Clive Rose/Getty Images

STEPHEN Ireland says he's keen to hold talks with Ireland's new management team of Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane to discuss a return to the Irish side.

And the midfielder, on loan from Aston Villa to Stoke, would relish the chance to work with O'Neill having been denied that opportunity at club level, as O'Neill signed Ireland for Aston Villa but left the club immediately after that deal.

"Yes, Martin O'Neill signed me for Villa, but that was at five and he had resigned by 12! It's just a shame that I didn't get to work with him," said Ireland, who has regained his form at Stoke and is considering an international career again, six years after he last played for his country.

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"I've started four games and I want to make sure I start the next 10 or 15, but at the back of my mind is Ireland.

"So I would like to get together with Martin O'Neill or Roy Keane and have a chat.

"But Euro qualifying doesn't start until next September and so I have some time to think about that. And there is also a lot of younger players coming through who deserve a shot as well.

"I think they will work," he said of Ireland's new boss and his assistant. "They are two great men who are very determined and have achieved a lot for themselves in their own careers.

"Roy Keane is an absolute legend in football and Martin O'Neill has done well wherever he has gone.

"I think the FAI and football in Ireland is going in the right direction because there's a lot of good players."

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