Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ireland hints at Ireland return

Manchester City midfielder Stephen Ireland is ready to return to the international scene with Ireland, according to his father.

Michael Ireland claims his son wants to make himself available to Republic manager Giovanni Trapattoni in 2009.

The City star, who has been in superb form for his club this season, decided to opt out of international football after the controversy surrounding his withdrawal from the squad in September 2007.

Talking to the Irish Daily Star Sunday, Michael, 39, said: "The country needs him, he's a good player and he'll go back in his own time.

"He's just focusing on his family right now and Man City. He's keeping his head down, but he'll be back hopefully next year."

He added: "I would never put pressure on him but I'd love to see him at the next World Cup."
Asked if he was considering a return himself, the Cobh-born 22-year-old added: "Yeah, but I'm trying to keep my head down at the moment."

Criticism was heaped on Ireland when he asked to return home early before a crucial Euro 2008 qualifier against the Czech Republic claiming his grandmother had died, as it later transpired that he lied about the death because his partner had miscarried.

Ireland's next game is a World Cup 2010 qualifier against Georgia at Croke Park in Dublin on February 11.

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