Ireland hoping for fresh start

10 July 2011 08:38
Stephen Ireland has his sights on rebuilding his Aston Villa career under new boss Alex McLeish and becoming "an important player" at the club.[LNB] The midfielder came to Villa last summer as part of the deal which saw James Milner head in the opposite direction to Manchester City.[LNB]But he was urged by then manager Gerard Houllier to "work harder" and was eventually loaned out to Newcastle for the second half of the campaign.[LNB]Now Ireland just wants to be judged on his performances and to play a full part under McLeish, who has said the slate is "wiped clean" for every player.[LNB]Ireland said: "All pre-season I'm going to work really hard to try and get in the new gaffer's plans. Hopefully I can stay there.[LNB]"I had a brief chat with him and he seemed really nice and determined and it seems as if he's going to be a good manager for the players and the club going forward.[LNB]"Right now I'm in a good place. I'm feeling really good and really determined. I've got a very good feeling about this year, not just for myself but the team and the fans and I want to do well for them.[LNB]"I set goals for myself. Obviously I want to build up a good relationship with the fans. I want to try and get in the team and play the best that I can.[LNB]"I just want a good run really, I need that because I've not really had a good run in the last couple of seasons. It's a shame but I can't let that bother me.[LNB]"I've just got to keep working hard to try and get my form and my sharpness back.[LNB]"It might take four or five games at the start of the season to get that back, but hopefully as soon as I do I can look forward and not look back."[LNB]Ireland is pleased to have the chance to finally try and make an impact at Villa.[LNB]He said: "You have to start with a fresh new slate now. It didn't go off with a bang like I wanted it to when I first signed here. I just want to be given the opportunity to play.[LNB]"Last year I felt in training I had done enough to get that chance to play but it didn't happen for me for whatever reason.[LNB]"I just want to be treated normally when it comes to training and performance and team selection, and if I'm working hard enough I'd like to know that I've got a clear shot at playing."[LNB]Ireland also insists he has no problem with the city of Birmingham after an interview last season indicated he was unhappy to relocate to the area from Manchester.[LNB]He said: "I just said if I was only training a few days a week, and not playing, then there wasn't really much point moving my family down here and taking my three kids out of school to Birmingham when I wasn't even making the squads.[LNB]"It was pointless moving house and not even being part of things at the weekend. I think anybody in my shoes wouldn't have moved down.[LNB]"Then January comes and I go to Newcastle, so am I supposed to move my family up to Newcastle - and then back to Manchester, do you know what I mean?[LNB]"I've not got any problem with Birmingham and I'll be moving into the area for this season."

Source: Team_Talk