Stephen Ireland’s loan spell at Newcastle was, it’s fair to say, less than successful. The majority of his time here was spent injured before he managed to recover sufficiently enough to make his debut. Just two sub appearances later he was sidelined again and sent back to Aston Villa with an ankle injury.
Ireland was originally signed with a view to a permanent deal in the summer. That had looked highly unlikely to materialise until recently when Alan Pardew stated that he was monitoring the situation with Ireland at Aston Villa and admitted that he could be tempted to have another look at him later on in the transfer window.
It would be a good move in my opinion.
Ireland would give us some much needed Premier League experience in the middle of the park. He can create openings and is willing to run for the cause based on his two substitute appearances for us. In short, whilst unlucky with injuries, he is a good player that just needs to be given a chance.
Ironically that chance could come at Villa Park now that they have replaced their manager, but I’d like to hope that Ireland would be open to a return to St James’ Park, albeit in what is already a packed central midfield area.
So what has changed? For me it’s been the sale of Kevin Nolan. Ireland won’t replace his leadership, but he can replace his Premier League knowledge and help out whilst others adapt to life in a new country and a new league.
He is younger than Kevin Nolan and is infinitely more mobile (I know, not hard) so I’d say that it would be an improvement overall and would increase the quality in our squad. People will point towards Yohan Cabaye as being Kevin Nolan’s replacement, but Ireland is the one for me who can make those runs into the box and get on the end of things.
What do you reckon? Would you be tempted to take a punt on the lad? Or would you prefer it if we looked elsewhere? I’d give him another go, ideally on loan so he can prove to us what he really is like, but I’m not sure that will be possible and it may take a permanent transfer for anything to happen with Stephen Ireland in the forseeable future.