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I love Cork! Stephen Ireland insists he was misquoted on hometown attack

Former international apologises after he launches another astonishing broadside on his hometown, Giovanni Trapattoni and former boss Gerard Houllier.

STEPHEN IRELAND SAYS opinions he expressed during the interview with a respected French football magazine were taken ‘completely out of context’.

The Cobh native launched himself into another controversy this morning with an astonishing attack on the Irish international set-up, manager Giovanni Trapattoni and his hometown of Cork.

The on-loan Newcastle United midfielder made the no-holds-barred remarks in an explosive interview with So Foot magazine.

But Ireland insists he didn’t actually mean it. “I’m upset with what has been printed this morning because I feel like I’ve been portrayed in the wrong way,” he said in a statement.

I was misquoted and things have been blown way out of proportion. That is the reason why I feel like I needed to say something because the quotes are very unfair.

“What I said during the interview has been twisted to sound particularly blunt and a lot of what was written about my hometown of Cork – which me and my family visit regularly – was just plain ridiculous.

“The comments regarding Birmingham were also taken way out of context as I had only been at Villa a few months and didn’t even live there so I have no idea what Birmingham is like to live in and everyone I have met from Birmingham has been nice, my girlfriend’s father is from Birmingham so why would I say that, it’s just crazy.

“I can only apologise if anyone was offended, but the way the interview was written made me sound very harsh, and I am not that kind of person.”

Ireland is hoping to make his Newcastle debut against Bolton this weekend after recovering from injury.

Ireland, who last represented his country in September 2007 after the infamous Granny-gate fiasco, is quoted in the article as saying he had “better things to do” than play for the Boys in Green, labelled Trapattoni “the most arrogant man” he has ever met, and insisted he would rather shoot himself than live on Leeside.

“I won’t come back,” Ireland said, “I feel nothing for the national team. I don’t feel at all guilty when they lose and when they win I never say ‘oh dear, I could have been there’.

"Even if Ireland had qualified for the World Cup I wouldn’t have gone. People are calling for me to return, but I only ever played five games guys!”

“International soccer doesn’t interest me,” he said. “Going away for three days to play in Andorra – I’ve got better things to do. Also, when you’re Irish you know you’ll never win the World Cup.

"Even when I played for the youth teams, I got fed up at having to go away. Everyone else was from Dublin and I came from Cork. I had to get the train on my own, pay for a taxi, there was no hotel, no food. The organisation was amateurish.”

Giovanni Trapattoni has consistently fielded questions from the Irish press on the prospect of the a return to the fold by Ireland. And though there did seem to be some hope when a meeting was arranged, the Cobh native says he was not impressed with the Italian.

“I’ve never seen anyone so arrogant. I met him once. He was taking calls every two minutes and made me hang around for 15 minutes in his office.

“In the end, he said, ‘if you want to play then come, if not, it’s no problem. Foreign coaches, they’re no good," he added.


The midfielder then turned his ire to his home city and explained to the French football magazine that the bankrupt nation is 'reaping what it sowed'.

"We built blocks of flats just for the sake of it and now there’s no one inside them. It cost huge amounts of money and nobody is in a position to pay.

"But I don’t care about Ireland. I don’t know if I’ll go back one day. Live in Cork? I might as well shoot myself. I prefer Los Angeles.”

The midfielder, who has just moved on loan to Newcastle, also hit out Roberto Mancini, Manchester City and Gerard Houllier in the interview.

His much-anticipated debut for the Magpies may be on hold after coach Alan Pardew admitted he may be facing another set-back.

Read more in So Foot which is published today>