Stoke City boss Mark Hughes is determined to get Aston Villa loan signing Stephen Ireland back to his best.

Hughes is evidently relishing the challenge of resurrecting the career of a player and a person he clearly rates.

"Stephen is a great talent, but unfortunately his career took a back step through no fault of his own.

"He needed to get out and get to a club where he could show people what he can do.

"He's coming to a good group that will embrace him and I think we will see that quickly.

"I've always had a lot of time for Stephen. I think he's a player who can effect games in the final third as a midfielder player - and they are few and far between.

"He's got a great engine, one of the best at Manchester City, and is always a goal threat.

"Coming here gives us another option in midfield, where we are looking really strong."

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