Ireland eyes permanent Stoke switch

Stoke City midfielder Stephen Ireland is hopeful that he can remain at the club after his loan spell comes to an end.

The 27-year-old is on a season-long loan at the Britannia Stadium from Aston Villa after failing to hold down a place under Paul Lambert. 

However, Ireland, who admits his time at Villa Park is essentially finished, wants to ensure that he remains in Mark Hughes' plans.

"If I do well at Stoke and they want me at the end of the loan spell - and as I will be out of contract - I think that, yes, my Villa career is effectively over," he told Sky Sports.

"I would (consider staying at Stoke permanently), as my first impressions of the club have been fantastic. Everybody has been so welcoming and there seems to be a great buzz about the place.

"I just can't wait to be a part of it and start playing again on a regular basis."

Ireland joined Villa in 2010 but failed to establish himself under either Gerard Houllier, Alex McLeish or current boss Lambert. 

He was loaned to Newcastle United in January 2011 but made just two appearances and is keen to make more of an impact at Stoke. 

"I have got so much to prove to myself and the footballing world," he continued.

"I am hungrier than ever to prove the doubters wrong and prove Mark Hughes and Stoke right in their decision to sign me, I can't wait for the games to start."


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