Ireland out to prove a point
Stoke new boy Stephen Ireland admits he is looking to 'stick two fingers up' at several people after ending his Aston Villa hell.
- Related Content
Ireland joined Stoke on a season-long from Villa on transfer deadline day to link up again with former Manchester City boss Mark Hughes.
The 27-year-old found himself out of favour at Villa with Ireland finding himself frozen out of the first-team picture under Paul Lambert.
Ireland is now looking forward to a fresh start at Stoke and is determined to prove a few of his critics wrong.
"They had two squads, one they wanted to keep and one they didn't, and I was in the second group," Ireland told the Daily Telegraph. "I never called it the Bomb Squad, although a couple of the others, like Darren Bent, took it to heart more than I did.
"It was more about self-pride for me. Players were coming up to me saying think of all the days off, you must love it, all the booze and parties.
"But I'm not like that, I'm a family person and I just had to keep myself in good nick. A lot of the players couldn't believe I wasn't playing.
"It's been a difficult few months but now I've never been so determined to prove a point. There are quite a few people I want to stick two fingers up at."
Despite his treatment at Villa, Ireland insists he doesn't hold any grudges against Villa chief Lambert.
"I don't hold any grudges against Paul," added Ireland. "He made it clear why the decision had been made but I understand all the reasons behind it.
"I've said the wrong thing to managers in the past but there was no remorse from me. I expected it when I came back into pre-season and I didn't kick up a fuss.