Ireland admits major changes

14 March 2009 12:09
Stephen Ireland has spoken of the extreme lengths he went to in order to turn around his Manchester City career.[LNB] The Irish midfielder has been City's standout performer this season but life has not always been so rosy for Ireland at Eastlands.[LNB]Last season's infamous 'Grannygate' incident while away on international duty with Republic of Ireland still haunts him - Ireland has no imminent plans to return to the fold - but his form this term suggests he is on the right path.[LNB]Ireland admits he hit rock bottom last season when City were thumped 8-1 by Middlesbrough under then manager Sven Goran Eriksson. While Ireland was shattered by the experience he claims some of his team-mates were not unduly affected.[LNB]Vowing to get himself perfectly tuned both physically and mentally for the new campaign, Ireland immersed himself in an arduous fitness routine over the summer.[LNB]Turning point'It was the last day of the season and we had lost 8-1 at Boro," he told the Daily Mail. [LNB]"I didn't get the team bus. I got Jessica to drive me home and I thought to myself: 'This can't carry on. My career and my reputation are not right'.[LNB]"After that game we didn't even get a b******ing. I was so depressed at seeing that people didn't really care. People were laughing. It was the worst moment of all for me.[LNB]"I decided that wasn't a route I was going down. I didn't want to live my life travelling home from big defeats with a smile on my face. I just felt like I had to change something after everything that had happened. [LNB]"So, the next day I started training. I went up to the hills in Glossop with a martial arts expert, training from 7 to 11am. I dedicated my whole summer to working with this guy.[LNB]"I came back super fit and wanted to be number one in the team."[LNB]Never say neverWhile refusing to rule out a return to international football in the future, Ireland rejects claims that Giovanni Trapattoni has already asked him to come back.[LNB]"When I first got in to the Irish squad when I was 17 I was so proud," he added. [LNB]"It's not that I am not patriotic and I know much of this is my fault. But it's sad the way some people still want to criticise me. I know the Irish thing will take longer to fix. I just think I am quite happy as I am right now.[LNB]"I read in the press that (Giovanni) Trapattoni and Liam Brady have said they have contacted me. Well, they haven't. That's all I can say. Never say never, though."[LNB]

Source: SKY_Sports