Man City midfielder Ireland hits back at Mancini

Manchester City midfielder Stephen Ireland has hit back at manager Roberto Mancini.

Manchester City midfielder Stephen Ireland has hit back at manager Roberto Mancini.

The 23-year-old, who was named City’s player of the year the season before last after scoring 13 goals from midfield, has not been picked by the Italian since the last-gasp defeat by Manchester United in April – when he failed to track a run from Paul Scholes, who scored with a header.

Ireland told the Sunday Mirror: “I came off playing 67 games to playing just 16, including substitute appearances, last season.

“So I can’t really live up to what I did before if I am not getting the opportunities. I don’t think any player would be happy being a back-up player and I wouldn’t either.

“The first two months of the coming season I could be sitting on the bench. God knows I could be in the stands.

“If I haven’t played much by Christmas then, like any player, I would want to know what is happening. If things don’t happen then we will have to look at it again.”

Mancini has denied being at odds with Ireland — but he has still to be convinced the player can hold a place in a team swelled by the arrivals of top midfielders like Yaya Toure and David Silva — with James Milner maybe still to come.

“I have never once said I wanted to leave or kicked up a fuss,” said Ireland.

“The way it stands at the moment I am working my socks off in training and trying to prove to the gaffer that I am good enough to stay.

“I am very ambitious but things are out of my hands. I have a contract so all I can do is keep performing, presenting myself well in training and if I must move on, so be it.”

 
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