Over the past four or five years, Stephen Ireland has, without a doubt, become one of the finest midfield talents in the Premier League.
The 23-year old played so well last season, he was nominated for the PFA’s Young Player of the Year award.
Despite not winning the award, Ireland was voted Manchester City’s Player of the Year ahead of the likes of Robinho and Richard Dunne.
This season things have certainly changed for the former Cobh Ramblers man. Since the arrival of Roberto Mancini at Eastlands back in December, Ireland is no longer a first-team regular. He has had to make do with sitting on the bench most weekends and I know the majority of you will agree with me when I say that Ireland is no bench-warmer.
A whole host of clubs have been linked with Ireland over the past 18 months including the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United, Tottenham, Aston Villa and Chelsea. Many have commented that Ireland would fit perfectly into the Arsenal way of playing, however I personally believe he could fit into any team, he is that good.
I would be surprised if Ireland remained a City player beyond the summer, given the fact that Mancini seems to prefer the likes of Nigel de Jong, Patrick Vieira and Gareth Barry for the central midfield positions.
I have always been a big fan of Ireland’s and despite the fact I am a City fan, I really believe a move away from the club would do him the world of good. It’s never nice to see a player of such talent sitting on the bench most weekends so I think a move may be the best option.