Ireland - I'm Close to Best Form
Stephen Ireland says he is close to recapturing his best form at Aston Villa and he is attributing that to the trust shown in him by boss Alex McLeish.
- Related Content
Ireland had a disappointing debut season last term after joining from Manchester City, with then boss Gerard Houllier claiming he needed to "work harder" before sending him to Newcastle on-loan.
McLeish has given Ireland a second chance at the Midlands club and the midfielder feels he is reaping the rewards of a run of matches.
He was named the club's man of the match in the 1-1 home draw with Everton at the weekend and even had the fans chanting his name.
Ireland said: "I feel I'm ready to show my best form now. I'm getting fitter and you get that with a consistent run.
"In the majority of games, I would be feeling like I was coming off no matter how well I was doing.
"I guess that was because I haven't been given the trust. Probably since I first got here, I haven't been given that trust - but I have now thanks to the gaffer.
"I'm in a good place. I'm working as hard as I can, I'm improving game by game and the more confidence I get, the better.
"It's a question as well of getting on the same wavelength as some of the other players.
"At Manchester City, I could play passes because I knew where everyone else was but at the moment I need to get on the same wavelength as the others.
"I feel like I'm going in the right direction and the more football I get, it will improve.
"One of the targets I've set is to get on better with the fans and it is nice when they sing your name on the pitch.
"I've not had the greatest of relationships with them but I've not had a consistent run.
"I would start a game but then not be in the squad for 10 games. There was no in-between. It's been frustrating but I'm playing now and I'm pleased."