Ireland hoping for fresh start
Stephen Ireland has his sights on rebuilding his Aston Villa career under new manager Alex McLeish and becoming "an important player" for the midlands club.
The midfielder came to Villa last summer as part of the deal which saw James Milner head in the opposite direction to Manchester City. 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.
Now Ireland to play a full part under McLeish, and 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."
He added: "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.
"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.
"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.
"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.
"I've just got to keep working hard to try and get my form and my sharpness back.
"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."
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