Monday, 3 August 2009

SI7: 'My place is under pressure'

Interesting stuff from Stephen Ireland in The Sun today; mostly about his willingness to fight for his place in the team:
"I have always felt my place is under pressure. I've never taken it for granted and I never will.

"I'm just happy to be part of what we're doing here. I want to become a better player and I'm in the right place.

"If I'm not in the starting line-up for the first game I won't be bitter, because it is a long season. I would be happy to be part of such a strong squad.

"I will get my chance - and if it comes after 15 games, then fair enough. If I finish the season in the first team, who is going to remember who played there at the start?"

There is an implied reference to 2008/09 here. Player of the Season Stephen Ireland was, of course, on the bench for opening day at Villa Park where Hughes, bizarrely in retrospect, preferred Kelvin Etuhu on the right wing. But Ireland had an impressive nine minute cameo, and was in the team for West Ham the following week - where he set up two goals for Elano and won Man of the Match. And we know the rest.

So he knows that all places are up for grabs, and that he needs to maintain his workrate to stay in the side. What we must hope for is that those not in the first choice eleven at Ewood Park show the same attitude as Ireland did last season. This is one area - amongst many - where Michael Johnson could learn from his fellow Academy graduate.

2 comments:

jackblue said...

Ireland's attitude Vs Elano's attitude ... Discuss.

Mark said...

You can't tell - if it had been the other way round, Ireland may have been agitating for a move to get first team football when he was not in the managers' mind. There's still the issue of the big-name new signings earning double what Ireland earns...wait until his agent starts down that route.