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Stephen Ireland on trial with League One side in bid to return from two-year lay-off

The midfielder hasn’t played competitively since May 2018.

Stephen Ireland at Stoke City.
Stephen Ireland at Stoke City.
Image: David Davies

IRISH MIDFIELDER STEPHEN Ireland could play competitive football for the first time in over two years when the 2020-21 season kicks off next month.

Ireland, who turned 34 over the weekend, is on trial at League One club Swindon Town.

The former Irish international hasn’t played since featuring in a Premier League game for Stoke City against Swansea City in May 2018.

He later had a brief spell with Bolton Wanderers, who were still in the Championship at the time, but left without playing a game amid a financial crisis at the club.

“I really believe I have three or four years left in me, minimum,” Ireland said in a recent interview with The Athletic. “Physically I feel 27 or 28. I just want to get motoring again because there is so much more to come out of me.”

Swindon, who were crowned League Two champions last season, will begin life in League One with a home game against Brian Barry-Murphy’s Rochdale on 12 September.

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Paul Dollery

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