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'Ireland needs to settle'

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Stephen Ireland. Photo: Richard Sellers/PA Wire

Stephen Ireland. Photo: Richard Sellers/PA Wire

Stephen Ireland. Photo: Richard Sellers/PA Wire

MARK Hughes says he has spoken to Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane about Stephen Ireland's international future, but the Stoke City boss wants the midfielder to sort out his club situation before making any final decision on an Ireland return.

Ireland's form for Stoke since his loan move this season has sparked fresh debate about a possible end to his self-imposed exile from the international squad but Hughes says there is no hurry.

"It has to be his decision. He has had discussions with Roy and Martin and they are keeping tabs on him but at the moment he needs to settle down," says Hughes.

"I have spoken to them in passing and it was just in general terms of where Stephen feels he is at the moment and when he feels ready to go back to the international scene but at the moment he is concentrating on club football.

"I think Stephen needs to understand where his future is for the next two or three years and hopefully that will be resolved quite quickly, then he can concentrate on doing well for us and then he can concentrate on the international scene."


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