Ireland happy to act as mentor to Villa youngsters

Aston Villa midfielder Stephen Ireland is keen to act as a mentor for the club's young players.

Aston Villa midfielder Stephen Ireland is keen to act as a mentor for the club's young players.

Ireland is keen to help his young team-mates in the same way the likes of Richard Dunne, Robbie Fowler and Steve McManaman helped him when he was breaking through at City.

“I know the players here aren’t half getting younger,” said Ireland to the Birmingham Mail. “I had this at Manchester City. Kevin Keegan left, Stuart Pearce took over and all of a sudden, me Micah Richards, Joe Hart were given a chance.

“Now I find myself one of the experienced ones at Villa. I like it when home-grown lads come through, especially if they deserve it, work hard to be where they are.

“I want to give them advice, help them with their decision making because that step up from youth to reserve to first team is massive. When I was trying to get into the first team at City I’d been in the reserves since I was 16.

“Playing with Richard Dunne, Robbie Fowler, Steve McManaman, who were really experienced, I picked up things from them.

“So with the young lads coming in and training with us now, I hope to help them like I was helped.”

Have your say