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Mancini: Time for Ireland to go
Published : 13 Aug 2010 22:48:00
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has told Stephen Ireland it is time for him to experience life away from Eastlands. The midfielder is stalling on a move from Aston Villa as part of the deal that will see James Milner head in the opposite direction, reportedly because City are refusing to countenance a £2million pay-off. For Ireland, the prospect of life away from Manchester must be difficult to accept. Now 23, the Cobh-born player joined City eight years ago, claiming the club's player of the year prize the season before last after a string of outstanding displays. But Ireland lost his way last term and failed to secure a regular starting berth after Mancini arrived last December as successor to Mark Hughes. Already the midfielder has been omitted from City's Europa League squad, with all the indications pointing to him ending up in exactly the same position in the Premier League if he fails to secure the Villa move. Ireland could yet stick to his guns, but Mancini has argued that would be a mistake. "Stephen Ireland is a good player but he has been here all his life and he needs to change," said Mancini. "Sometimes it can happen that a player stays with the same squad for 15 years and plays well but a moment arrives when he needs to change. Now is time for him. "I really think he can improve." With the transfer now certain not to be completed until next week, Ireland will be left to determine his next course of action, knowing omission from that 25-man Premier League list will prevent him from playing any first-team games. The midfielder, who previously courted controversy when he claimed first one, then the other of his grandmothers had died to secure time away from the Republic of Ireland squad to be with his girlfriend, who had suffered a miscarriage, may continue to stall until nearer the August 31 transfer deadline, especially now Martin O'Neill has left Villa Park. However, in that case, Mancini could opt to pursue Milner as a straightforward purchase. "We need two or three more days with this situation," said the Italian. "It is right that everything goes well for everybody but I am confident it will be OK."