Man City midfielder Ireland hits back at 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.”