Ireland signs new Stoke deal
Published 15/04/2014 | 11:32
Midfielder Stephen Ireland has signed a three-year contract to remain at Stoke.
Ireland has revived his career at the Britannia Stadium after joining the Potters on a loan deal from Aston Villa at the start of the season.
Stoke made the move permanent during the January transfer window and have now tied down the 27-year-old until the end of the 2016-17 season.
Ireland had no hesitation in signing the deal after admitting his career has been rekindled by the move.
The midfielder has made 27 league and cup appearances this term and has started to rediscover the form that first brought him to attention under Potters boss Mark Hughes at Manchester City.
"It's important for every player to feel wanted and to be a part of a family and to be honest I haven't had that for a long, long time," he told www.stokecityfc.com.
"Thankfully I have felt that warmth here at Stoke and truth be told I couldn't really be in a better place than I am at the moment.
"For that, I have to thank the gaffer immensely because he is the main reason why I came here in the first instance, and of course, he is a big factor in why I am delighted to agree this new deal now.
"I have also been able to build a good relationship with the supporters too, and that is very warming to me, because it has been a long time since I have felt loved at a football club."
Ireland also thanked Hughes, adding: "I wouldn't have been able to enjoy my football again like I have done if the manager hadn't have brought me here in the first place, so of course, I am incredibly grateful to him and the club for doing that."
Hughes believes Stoke will see the best of Ireland over the next few years.
"We're delighted that Stephen has committed himself to us. He's an outstanding player; I think we've seen that in the time that he's been with us," he said.
"He's someone I've worked with before and that will help Stephen because he enjoys working in a stable environment where he knows people. I think that gets the best out of him and we'll reap the benefits of that and I think the next few years will be great for him.
"He's still a young man and we're arguably getting him at a time in his career when he should be at the peak of his powers. I think it's a great opportunity both for Stephen and the club."