Ireland delighted to sign new Man City deal

Simon Ireland has signed a new contract at Manchester City.

The 21-year-old has been impressive under new manager Sven-Goran Eriksson this season, but it has been for off-the-field issues that he has hit the headlines in recent days.

First, he falsely claimed that both his grandmothers had died to avoid joining up with the Republic of Ireland squad, when in fact he wanted to spend time with his girlfriend who had suffered a miscarriage.

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Then he was quoted on social networking website Bebo claiming "football is s***" and asked "why did I get stuck doin(g) it".

And after a difficult time for the player and his family, Ireland was thrilled to reaffirm his commitment to the City cause and has now signed up until June 2012.

"I am delighted to commit my future to Manchester City," he told the club's official website.

"The last week has been extremely difficult for my family and me but it is a terrific boost to sign a long-term deal, which I hope shows my commitment to the club and the fans as well as the club's commitment to me.

"I am very settled at the club and the support I have received from my partner, family and everybody around me has been fantastic.

"The events surrounding my withdrawal from the Ireland squad last week have been well publicised and are not something I want to dwell on. However, I want to reiterate my regret over what happened.

"I received some very upsetting news when I was told by my partner that she had suffered a miscarriage and unfortunately became swept up in an unforeseen series of events on an issue that was deeply personal to us.

"At no time did I realise that an issue which should have been private and confidential between my partner and I would receive so much media attention - but now it is time for me to move on."

The six-times capped midfielder insisted it was an easy decision to commit to Eriksson's revolution which has seen a rejuvenated City rise to second in the Barclays Premier League table.

"The understanding shown to me by Sven-Goran Eriksson, the City players and backroom staff has been fantastic," he added.

"I am glad to be back training at City and looking forward to being part of the squad to travel to Fulham on Saturday.

"I have been more satisfied with my form this season than at any time since I broke into the first-team squad.

"There is such a positive great mood amongst our squad and we are all completely focused on maintaining our excellent start to the season."

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