Stephen Ireland talks of World Cup 2014 return
Aston Villa midfielder Stephen Ireland has admitted that he would like to return to the Republic of Ireland setup after Euro 2012, perhaps in time for the start of World Cup 2014 qualifying.
In an interview with BBC’s Saturday morning television show Football Focus, the 25 year old stated his ambitions. “I think it’s highly unlikely that I’ll be involved in the squad for the Euros,” Ireland said. “I’ll be massively interested. They’ve done amazing to get there. I know they’re in a tough group but I still think anything can happen. When you’re watching every game and kicking every ball, I’m really excited to see how they do and I’m sure they’ll do really well. And you know after the Euros in September I can review it and see what happens.”
Ireland, who has not played for his country since ‘Grannygate’ in 2007, says that he regrets his actions at the time – claiming that his grandmother had died so he could be with his girlfriend Jessica who had suffered a miscarriage. “Obviously I left in bad circumstances that I would love to change but it happened, unfortunately,” he said. “I’ve missed these couple of years and I’m in the scenario because of myself. So if it ever comes to reviewing it again, I’ll have to think long and hard about it.”
Asked whether he had been in contact with the FAI, Ireland said “Nothing’s happened yet. If the question comes my way, I’ll deal with it then, but it’s very hard to talk about it when the questions haven’t come my way. It’s just speculation again.”
Most of the recent speculation came from Jessica, now Ireland’s fiancé, who told various newspapers including the Daily Star and Irish Independent that the pair would love it if Ireland returned to the international fold.