Ireland joined Stoke on a season-long from Villa on transfer deadline day to link up again with former Manchester City boss Mark Hughes.
"They had two squads, one they wanted to keep and one they didn't, and I was in the second group," Ireland told the Daily Telegraph. "I never called it the Bomb Squad, although a couple of the others, like Darren Bent, took it to heart more than I did.
"It was more about self-pride for me. Players were coming up to me saying think of all the days off, you must love it, all the booze and parties.
"But I'm not like that, I'm a family person and I just had to keep myself in good nick. A lot of the players couldn't believe I wasn't playing.
"It's been a difficult few months but now I've never been so determined to prove a point. There are quite a few people I want to stick two fingers up at."
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