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Dublin: 15 °C Monday 13 July, 2020

Stephen Ireland signs new three-year deal with Stoke City

The six-times capped Ireland international has paid tribute to manager Mark Hughes for reinvigorating him.

Ireland joined Stoke at the beginning of the current campaign.
Ireland joined Stoke at the beginning of the current campaign.
Image: EMPICS Sport

STEPHEN IRELAND HAS signed a new three-year contract with Premier League side Stoke City, committing himself to the club until the summer of 2017.

The 27-year-old originally joined Stoke on loan from Aston Villa at the start of the current season, before making the deal permanent in January. Under the management of Mark Hughes – who Ireland had previously worked with at Man City – the midfielder’s form has improved.

The Cork man has been capped six times by Ireland, although that figure may increase in the future if the former Cobh Ramblers player returns to the international fray after a lengthy and controversial exile.

“It’s important for every player to feel wanted and to be a part of a family and to be honest I haven’t had that for a long, long time,” Ireland told after signing his new deal.

“Thankfully I have felt that warmth here at Stoke and truth be told, I couldn’t really be in a better place than I am at the moment.

For that, I have to thank the gaffer immensely because he is the main reason why I came here in the first instance, and of course, he is a big factor in why I am delighted to agree this new deal now.

“I have also been able to build a good relationship with the supporters too, and that is very warming to me, because it has been a long time since I have felt loved at a football club.”

‘A smile on my face’

Stoke currently sit 10th in the Premier League table, and Ireland is focused on helping them to maintain or improve upon that position before the end of the season.

“It would be fantastic to finish in the top half of the Premier League this season, that is the aim and it is an objective that I have full confidence in us being able to achieve,” he went on to say.

I am 27 now and I really do feel that my best years are ahead of me and hopefully I can keep improving here and flourish in the team, which is my aim. I’m playing with a smile on my face again, and everything that I used to love about football has all come back to me again here at Stoke.

“I just want to get out there and keep improving as a player and keep on helping the team to produce good performances and superb results.”

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