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Ireland: Man City recruitment drive making it hard

Manchester City's summer recruitment drive has put added pressure on the existing members of the City squad to perform, claims midfielder Stephen Ireland. "What has happened this summer is really exciting and the squad is going to be a lot stronger, that is for sure," said the 22-year-old Irishman.

"Players are going to have to be flexible and that is great. There will be a big fight to get into that first team of the season and that is my immediate aim.

"Then it will be to play so well that the manager can never think of leaving me out."

Ireland is not scared of the competition that now exists within the squad and has welcomed the arrival of big-name signings.

"Gareth Barry is a very shrewd and clever signing by the manager. He is a top-class all-round midfielder who will give us more balance," he told the club's official website.

"Gareth knows his way around the Premier League and you know exactly what you will get from him.

"The great thing about Gareth and Roque (Santa Cruz), who is another crucial addition, is that they are players who are in their prime.

"They are experienced but not on the way down and we have got them at just the right time.

"Roque will help us vary our attacks more. He puts himself about and is a proper target man who also scores goals.

"He has always struck me as someone who is easy to play off because he holds the ball well and reads the game cleverly."

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