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Stephen Ireland among seven players released by relegated Stoke

The 31-year-old spent five years with the Potters.

Ireland returned from injury in the second half of last season.
Ireland returned from injury in the second half of last season.
Image: Getty Images

STEPHEN IRELAND IS searching for a new employer after the Ireland midfielder was included in Stoke City’s list of released players as the club prepares for life in the Championship.

The 31-year-old, who joined the Potters from Aston Villa in 2013, has had three injury-plagued seasons and only returned to action from a horrific leg break last January.

After Ireland had worked tirelessly through an extensive rehab programme, Stoke showed huge loyalty to the Cork native by offering him a contract until the end of the season, as he went onto make four Premier League appearances last term.

But the six-time capped international was unable to prevent the club from being relegated as they relinquished their top-flight status after a decade, with new boss Gary Rowett beginning his summer clear out at the Bet365 Stadium.

Ireland, who scored six times in 70 appearances for Stoke, is one of seven players deemed surplus to requirement, with former England international Glen Johnson the other senior player let go.

Shola Ayoola, Lewis Banks, Ryan Hill, Eddy Lecygne and Luis Da Silva have also been released.

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