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Shisha-filled Christmas celebrations land Ireland in hot water

Alex McLeish says that Stephen Ireland “has not done himself justice in a Villa shirt” as the midfielder finds himself in trouble once again.

Shisha in one hand, wine glass in the other...
Shisha in one hand, wine glass in the other...
Image: Jessica Lawlor via Twitter

ALEX MCLEISH HAS ordered Stephen Ireland to knuckle down and concentrate on his football if he ever wants to make an impact at Aston Villa.

The headline-grabbing midfielder found himself in hot water again last week when girlfriend Jessica Lawlor tweeted a picture of him enjoying a glass of wine and smoking a Shisha pipe just 24 hours after he had limped out of Villa’s defeat against Arsenal.

The incident earned Ireland a strong rebuke from McLeish who feels that he is yet to get the best out of the 25-year-old since splashing £8m on him last summer.

“I’ve spoken to Stephen but it’s not something I want to be discussing,” McLeish told reporters (see the Daily Mail).

I don’t know what he was doing. Was he using a Shisha pipe? I don’t know what that stuff is. For all I know he could have been blowing bubbles. I have to say it’s not my world, the way players live nowadays with tweeting and posting pictures of themselves.

Ireland has made just 17 league appearances since his move from Manchester City but McLeish insisted that he can be a valuable asset to the threadbare Villa midfield if he replicates his training form on the pitch.

“He has to do more. He has been training well and he put in a shift the other night. He’s got to take that attitude into other games. He has not done himself justice in a Villa shirt.”

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Niall Kelly

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