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Dublin: 12°C Saturday 26 September 2020

We need to talk about Stephen: Houllier brands Ireland lazy

Stephen Ireland has to pull up his socks if he’s to get back in the Aston Villa side, says Gerard Houllier.

Stephen Ireland and fiance Jessica Lawlor step out in Manchester recently.
Stephen Ireland and fiance Jessica Lawlor step out in Manchester recently.
Image: Eamonn and James Clarke/Eamonn and James Clarke/EMPICS Entertainment

THE DRAMA CONTINUES for Stephen Ireland today after his new boss at Aston Villa Gerard Houllier told the Cobh-born midfielder to work harder.

Ireland was left out of yesterday’s derby clash with Birmingham which ended goalless – and has largely disappointed since his £8million move to Villa in August as part of the deal which saw James Milner join Manchester City.

Ironically, in dropping the exiled Irish midfielder, Houllier opted to use Giovanni Trapattoni’s  newest recruit Ciaran Clark – who claimed for the Boys in Green last week.

The Frenchman said:

Ireland needs to work harder. He played against Chelsea and did well, he played against Sunderland and was not good enough to me – simple as that.

He needs to work harder. The skill is one thing but you need to compete. It is a difficult period for him. We support him, we back him. He comes to a new club and there is a change of manager in between.

We know he is a good player but I don’t want to have a situation where you say `he is a good player, but….’ If you say `he is a good player but he doesn’t defend, he doesn’t run back, he loses too many balls in crucial areas’, then that is difficult.

He needs to get rid of these `buts’ about him and be a good player. He needs to work harder in games.

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