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‘Excited’ Stephen Ireland ponders international comeback

We could be the next Belgium, says the exiled Stoke midfielder.

Looking back? Stephen Ireland wants to chat with the new boss and his assistant.
Looking back? Stephen Ireland wants to chat with the new boss and his assistant.
Image: Dave Thompson/PA Archive/Press Association Images

STEPHEN IRELAND IS eyeing a return to the Ireland fold in the wake of the appointment of Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane.

The Cobh native has not played for the national team since a controversial exit after a game in Slovakia during the Steve Staunton era.

Now playing for Stoke City, Ireland says he’s excited by the high-profile appointment of the pair.

“I left under bad circumstances,” he told the BBC’s Ivan Gaskell today. “This new management has excited me. We’ll have to sit down and talk. I’ve a lot to think about. We’ll have to have a sit down and talk, and see what we can do.

“It’s something that appeals to me. To return and play a few campaigns. I’d like to go back and see how it goes”

Ireland told the Stoke Sentinel that he thinks the unlikely pairing of O’Neill and Keane will be a successful one.

“Yes, I think they will work,” he said. “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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