Dunne backing Man City pal Ireland

Richard Dunne says Manchester City teammate Stephen Ireland has the backing of his country after he pulled out of the Republic of Ireland squad this week.

"It's difficult for Stephen if he is having issues or problems," insisted Dunne. "Within himself, he needs to make sure he is happy and completely committed and ready to play for Ireland before he can be away from home for 10 days.

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"When he is playing for his club he is at home every single day, and that is the difference.

"He spends his nights at home, so he probably feels at the moment he can't afford to be away from his girlfriend and his kids for 10 days.

"He feels it would be more beneficial to him and them to spend the time with them."

Dunne is hoping the general public will understand what Ireland is going through, adding: "There's no reaction from within the squad, with anybody thinking any less of him.

"As far as the squad is concerned, we seem to have a clear idea of what Stephen is going through. His girlfriend had a miscarriage, and everyone knows how serious that is. We all have sympathy with him. We're not going to take the mickey or anything like that, and I'm sure the public appreciate that as well.

"If Stephen is not right, then people have to respect that and give him time. We just want to make sure that when he does come back he is made welcome. Everyone is looking forward to playing with him again."

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