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Stoke City FC Player Profiles

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UPDATED 12:36 17th September 2015

STEPHEN IRELAND will be looking to get more first team football at the Britannia Stadium this season, after a mixed first two years at the club.

The former Ireland international appeared 25 times in his first season at the Britannia Stadium and became a key part of the team which recorded a first-ever top ten Premier League finish. A mixture of niggling injuries and competition for places, however, meant he only started 11 Premier League games last term.

Ireland has made a strong start to this season though, coming off the bench at Tottenham Hotspur to play a pivotal role in both of Stoke's goals as the side came back from two goals down to earn their first point of the season.

Ireland, who originally joined Stoke City on a season-long loan from Aston Villa before putting pen-to-paper on a permanent contract in January 2014, had a hugely successful spell under Mark Hughes at Manchester City.

He was named their Player of the Year for the 2008/09 campaign - Hughes' last full season in charge at the Etihad Stadium – after producing a string of eye-catching displays.

The 27 year old struggled to hold down a regular starting place following the appointment of Roberto Mancini and in August 2010 he joined Aston Villa in a part-exchange deal that saw James Milner head in the opposite direction.

He later moved to Newcastle United on loan in January 2011 but injuries dashed his hopes of making any sort of impact in the North East.

Alex McLeish gave him a new lease of life though following his appointment as manager with Ireland impressing enough to be voted the Supporters' Player of the Year for the 2011/12 season.

Stephen, who was born in Cork and started his career with Cobh Ramblers before joining Manchester City as an 18-year-old, has played six times for the Republic of Ireland.