Hunt has rubbished reports that the 21-year-old Man City star was bullied while on international duty with the Republic of Ireland, resulting in his withdrawal from the squad for last week's double-header with Germany and Cyprus.
Hunt said: "The only thing that happened with the players was that he was treated with respect. I don't know where this business of him being held down on the ground by two players came from, that's stupid.
"He's got his own problems and he's got to deal with it, but only Stephen Ireland can deal with it. We've all had hard childhoods and he has to be a man. He's playing in the big boys' world now and it's difficult."