Ireland has seen his career stall since his move to the midlands, which saw James Milner go the other way to Manchester. Lack of match fitness and an inability to fit into Villas playing style has seen the talismanic Irishman spend more time propping up the Villain’s bench than actually benefitting Gerard Houlliers side.
Ireland, 24, had been playing arguably the best football of his life for City and was duly awarded their player of the year in 2009 but, with the influx of international talent that arrived at Eastland’s, Ireland saw the curtain brought down on his City career. Many expected him to pick up the baton at Villa and carry on in the same rich vein of form.
This, as Ireland himself will admit has not happened and the side that was last season fighting it out for the fourth Champions League spot now find themselves in 13th place in an ever more competitive league. Of course Villas troubles this season are not solely down to Ireland’s inability to settle, but many staunch Villa fans will have expected more from the 6 time Rep of Ireland cap.
Roy Hodgson is a long term admirer of Ireland’s talents and feels that his new look Liverpool side could offer the youngster a chance to get back to his imperial best. It is believed that Villa would be looking to cut there losses with the midfielder, and would be prepared to accept as little as £8 million as they look to boost there potential January kitty.
Spurs have appeared as rivals for his signature though and with Redknapps man management skills and Spurs stock at an all time high, would this be enough to convince Ireland his future lies in the capital. Either way it seems unlikely Ireland will be wearing the claret and blue of Villa for too much longer.
Follow Steve Featherstone on Twitter @Feathersworld
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