No bad blood with boss Lambert, says Stoke's Ireland

Reuters , Thursday 18 Jan 2018

New Stoke City manager Paul Lambert poses after the press conference (Photo: Reuters)

Stoke City midfielder Stephen Ireland has no grudges as he reunites with new manager Paul Lambert, desperate to play a part in the club's Premier League survival bid.

Ireland, who spent the majority of last two years recovering from a double leg break, returned to Stoke midfield in the last two matches and is hoping keep his starting place as Stoke take on Huddersfield at home on Saturday.

The 31-year-old arrived at the bet365 Stadium after Lambert, then manager of Aston Villa, left him out of the squad for the second half of 2012-13 campaign due to "footballing reasons".

"I honestly don't really know why it happened," Ireland told the Stoke Sentinel.

"I know at the time it was a bit messy and I found myself not being much around the team – but that was a long time ago and we've all moved on. Everybody has learned their own lessons.

"I don't think there are any grudges felt from any party and I'll just apply myself as honestly as I can every day, like I would for any manager here. If I get the chance to play I will give everything I can to impress him."

Stoke have given Ireland a short-term contract until the end of the season to prove his fitness and help the 18th-placed club avoid relegation.

He created several chances for Stoke in the first half of 3-0 league defeat at Manchester United on Monday in what was his first top flight start since April 2015.

"That was my first start in the Premier League in almost three years and to make it at Old Trafford is always going to be tough – but I'm really, really happy to have done it," Ireland added.

"My contract runs out in the summer so there is a lot for me to play for to impress Stoke, the fans, the new manager, the board – at the very least I have to showcase what I can do in the next 15 games."

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