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Page last updated at 23:54 GMT, Friday, 17 December 2010

Stephen Ireland set for Aston Villa exit

Stephen Ireland
Ireland last played for Villa on 6 December

Aston Villa midfielder Stephen Ireland has told manager Gerard Houllier that he wants to leave Villa Park in the January transfer window.

Ireland, 24, joined Villa in the summer as part of the deal that involved James Milner moving to Manchester City.

"He said he wanted to go in January," said Houllier. "He said that to his agent. I'm not so convinced about that.

"Have I told him to move? No, no, no. Once a player wants to go, he goes. Simple as that."

The Frenchman, who told Ireland to work harder soon after he succeeded Martin O'Neill, left the Irishman out of Villa's squad for the recent derby with West Brom and has excluded him for Saturday's match at Wigan.

"There is a discrepancy between what I see in training sometimes and what I see in the games. I told his agent that is his problem, he has got to sort that out," said Houllier.


"I like the man, I like the player, he has got a skilled touch, he has got an eye for the pass, but he has got to adapt to modern football as well."

However Houllier insisted that Villa will not allow Ireland - valued by City at £8m as part of the Milner transfer - to be sold cheaply.

"I think we will be looking to get the same kind of money back - the club probably would," said the Villa boss.

Ireland spent eight years at City, making 142 starts and scoring 23 goals after coming through the ranks as a teenager.

He was the club's player of the year for the 2008-2009 season, although the Irishman did not feature frequently last season.

Earlier on Friday, Houllier denied reports of a player rebellion at Villa Park, amid suggestions that his squad are unhappy with his training methods.

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see also
Houllier denies player rebellion
17 Dec 10 |  Aston Villa
Villa back Houllier for long haul
10 Dec 10 |  Aston Villa
Houllier finally signs Villa deal
24 Sep 10 |  Aston Villa
Houllier named Aston Villa boss
08 Sep 10 |  Aston Villa
Ireland arrival pleases MacDonald
18 Aug 10 |  Aston Villa
Milner completes move to Man City
18 Aug 10 |  Man City

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