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Talents of Stoke midfielder Ireland not lost on Hughes

Stoke City manager Mark Hughes says he is aware of the talent of Stephen Ireland despite playing him in a bit-part role for the last couple of years.

The 28-year-old midfielder came off the bench against Tottenham on Saturday and provided the cross for Mame Biram Diouf's equalizer that secured a 2-2 draw at White Hart Lane.

Hughes insists that Ireland is an important part of his squad despite his infrequent minutes: "Stephen knows how highly I value him.

"I probably don't show it as much as I should do in giving him appearances but I have discussions with him on a number of occasions because I feel I disappoint him too often for the talent he has.

"He's a very, very talented player. If he can lift his head he'll play intelligent balls into key areas of the field so I was delighted with what he produced at the end."

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Vyom Chaudhary
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