Ireland’s working job interview.

Ireland to earn his move?
Newcastle United fans have yet to see anything of Stephen Ireland in a competitive match due to various injuries since his arrival from Aston Villa at the end of January.

Whether or not Ireland is fit enough to finally make his black and white bow at Stoke in nine days time remains to be seen, but even if he doesn’t feature I would imagine that, barring another injury setback of course, Stephen Ireland will more than likely be fit to feature in the home game against Wolves at the start of April.

The signature of Ireland is one of those baffling ones though, well in my opinion it is anyway. Here we have a player who has been out of sorts for some time and plays in a position where we are already well stocked, but on the other hand he is a player who has the potential to be one of the best players in that well stocked position should he manage to regain the kind of form that once earned him the Player of the Season award at Manchester City.

I speculated yesterday about just what it could mean if Ireland was to make his move permanent, and the suspicious/paranoid part of me is starting to believe that with all the stuff going on with Joey Barton’s contract at the minute we could very well be lining up the 24-year-old as a replacement for a soon to be departed Joey Barton.

Pardew’s words that I have plucked from The Daily Mail this morning only reinforce my views that the move that I am thinking of could be a possibility.

“He is under a little bit of pressure because there aren’t many games left, but when you’ve got a player of Stephen’s character, I don’t think that is a bad thing,” said Pardew. “He’s still got time to impress me because I still think there is a chance of something permanent here for Stephen. Things at Villa aren’t going too well. But I want to have a good look at him before he goes back.”

So there is a possibility of a permanent transfer then, which to be honest is not the most surprising piece of news around as most would have already guessed that we would at least have half an eye on making the deal permanent should Ireland impress. The guy clearly wants out of Villa, and they don’t want him and want to shift some of the big earners to balance the books. 2+2 etc etc.

Getting the best out of Ireland will be an important factor when it comes to decision time over his future. If he shows no interest and carries on in this vein or poor form and self misery then I doubt he will be signed. But if Pardew can coax some form back into the player then we could have a very good asset on our hands for the final few weeks of the season. Fortunately, Pardew believes that he knows how to get the best out of Stephen Ireland.

Pardew continued by talking of his ability to be able to get the best of Ireland before moving on to the disappointment of the former Manchester City lad’s latest injury:

“He’s a really nice guy, he’s fitted in well. I don’t think he needs an arm around the shoulder as such, but he needs our full attention. You can’t let him drift. He needs to know he is important and that he could be here. If he doesn’t feel important he doesn’t play his best”

“We knew when we took him we knew he was injured but this thigh strain, like anything when you’ve been out for a long time, you pick up these little injuries. Because of Joey’s injury situation, may be we forced him back too early and I think we’re at fault a little bit because he’s picked up a thigh strain which is unfortunate for him.”

So what do you make of this then? At the end of the day it’s good that Ireland will have to earn a move to NUFC because if he has earned it then it will mean that he has performed well for us in the final few games of the season, and that should bode well for the future as an in-form Stephen Ireland can be a very valuable player indeed.

It would also make business sense for the club if they were to do what I think they may do and replace Barton. Both are similar players who would command similar wage packets so there would be no loss to be made there, but Ireland is five years younger than Barton and has more footballing miles left in his tank. If somebody offered you a newer car for the same price as your old one wouldn’t you be interested?

The ideal scenario would be that we tie down Joey Barton AND sign a rejuvenated Stephen Ireland, but unfortunately we don’t live in an ideal world and the arrival of Ireland would more than likely spell the end of one or more current players at the club.

Which players they would be remains to be seen however.

About toonsy

A lifelong Newcastle fan and current webmaster of this very 'blog who has the sole aim of creating a place by Newcastle United fans, for Newcastle United fans.

35 thoughts on “Ireland’s working job interview.

  1. IF Ireland impresses and IF we manage to sign a really good right wing player, I think we’ll be okay even if we do let go of Barton. That’s two very big ‘IF’s though, and who knows what’ll happen come summer.


  2. I just wish they would sign contracts and end the speculation. If I wake up one day and that’s reported on the news, I am calling in work sick and going on the lash to celebrate! If that’s not an excuse for an all day bender, I dunno what is!


  3. It’s a wait and see scenario, he’s just as likely to continue with his Villa form as he is to regain his City form so it depends on him. Even at Citeh his last few months he was no great shakes tho that may have something to do with the fact that Mancini came in and didn’t fancy him, but then do we want a player who goes into a sulk everytime he doesn’t feel loved if that indeed is what he’s like?
    Was Ireland not brought in when Joey looked nailed on to sign his contract? so don’t buy into being his replacement though that’s not to say that’s not what will happen in the summer. If Joey loves it here as much as he says then he’ll stay hopefully, if not well…… ❗ ❗


  4. I think we won’t let Barton go and we will keep Ireland. It doesn’t have to be an either/or. In fact we all know we need more bodies.

    Maybe what Pardew is thinking with all these central midfielders around is a system change. Play to your strengths. Forget wingers.

    Say we have decent overlapping full backs, we can play a diamond in midfield. Tiote can anchor, Barton and Ireland doing box to box stuff and Nolan at the pointy end – or something similar (replace any of them with whoever you favour). We might retain a winger on the bench for tactical reasons.

    Perhaps Simpson at right midfield last week is an indication of this sort of thinking – that is, Pardew wants him to push up like Jose does.


  5. Moreno, 😀
    Staying up? 6th Place? Champions league spot? 😛
    I could think of a hundred different reasons for taking the day off and getting sloshed. Sometimes I just celebrate the fact that I’m going to be taking the day off.


  6. Playing that formation can get you knacked against a good tactical manager.
    If you play with one man out wide against a good partnership (evra, nani) you are going to get annihilated. Granted this wouldn’t happen week in week out, but you still need wingers.
    You also find that the weak point of most premier league team is the full back so having a good winger ripping him to pieces can usually be the game changer.

    I reckon one up front, 2 attacking wingers and one in the hole, giving us a 4-2-3-1 formation. Very attacking granted but without a main man up front it would be useless. As much as I like Besty and rate him, he ain’t that man


  7. “The signature of Ireland is one of those baffling ones though, well in my opinion it is anyway”

    Don’t see how it doesn’t make sense signing Ireland. We know it’s a squad game these days and how much we lack quality in depth. He’s a player of a high quality, former player of the season, proven in this league, seems to have a good attitude and wants to prove himself. If signed he would add more depth and quality to the squad. We need players like him if we are to progress.

    If the fee is reasonable and he can show anything like a bit of form between now and the end of the season I think he would be a great singing.


  8. Moreno: There are strengths and weaknesses to every formation.

    Australia played 4231 under their last manager. It was criticised as being too defensive.

    I’ve enjoying Brisbane Roar’s formation this season – premiers by a mile and we play in the grand final (sort of like the FA cup) on Sunday. It’s a 433 system, but there’s no centre forward. Lots of passing, lots of movement, overlapping full backs, no high balls. Bit like Barcelona.

    Nobody can live with them. 27 games unbeaten. The best anybody has done about them is by the team they play in the final, who play the diamond formation.


  9. Bris,

    Yeah of course there is strengths and weaknesses to every formation, just reckon in the Premier League, playing the same way with real gaps in your midfield week in week out is going to have you undone. We should have a variety of formations to choose from depending on who we play and the quality of our players should be good enough to facilitate this. At the moment they aren’t, Danny Simpson playing on right wing proved this point at the weekend. Only Joey and HBA seem like they could play in different positions/roles and be effective


  10. Only at Newcastle United!

    Sell your best asset at the last minute and replace him with a player who’s injured and isn’t even a striker….


  11. Aye Stu, it’s amazing the decisions some people make when they are held to ransom by a 6 foot 5 pikey….


  12. Apparently he’s not.going to be fit for Tue Stoke game. At this rate he will play for five minutes in the west brom game. Also news saying Pardew is keen on signing him.
    If he can produce the form he had at man city then we will have a good player. If he can’t andd he keeps up his villa form then we won’t.


  13. If Ashley Cole shot me at Chelsea’s training ground, I would be rubbing my hands together with glee and booking an appointment at the nearest Ferrari garage


  14. ILM @7: ‘Strength in depth” doesn’t mean just keep recruiting ‘good’ players. How much depth do you have with 11 goalies out there? It’s irrelevant how good a player is if he’s not on the field, but he costs the same regardless, and that money comes out of the same pot for strengthening where it IS needed.

    No club can financially sustain having five senior, attacking, central midfielders on its books. This club certainly can’t when it’s trying to become profitable, pay off debts and fill some gaping holes in the squad. Toonsy’s got a point with this one; is it an either/or, and is there some thinking to cull the herd when it comes to this position?

    I think Barton’s gone sour, partly because of the contract duration thing, but mostly because he’s lost faith in the club’s ambition since the AC sale. Exactly what he has said, in fact. Same with Jose, Collo, Jonas – all the players who are only still here on the promise that they’ll get to the top with this club.

    I personally think Ireland sounds like a very bad idea. We’ve already started to re-build our infamous collection of dodgy personalities (Benny, Ranger and Barton all have ‘previous’) and this guy sounds like a bit of a **** if I’m honest. This is Newcastle: we don’t lavish attention and importance on anyone above the rest of the team. If he wants to get it, earn it. Otherwise bog off.


  15. if cole shot me , id make sure to press charges! Hate him!

    On the other hand if it was our saint joey that shot me id be more than willing to settle outside court 😆


  16. Richie 🙄

    Aye Johno, never grass on your own to the filth, would be no point grassing up a footballer anyway. They get away with murder (well at least puching lasses anyway)


  17. Alreet Toonsy, not much news again today…see we have been linked with Real Madrid B player though. Don’t know much about him to be honest, even though Real are my favourite team behind the toon. 😳


  18. HBA, Barton, Ireland, Raylor, Jonas all who could conceivably play RM are injured or suspended and we only have one proper RB in Simmo. We are very very short on that side, thank god we have a week off!


  19. Pearceet – It’s debatable whether or not Ryan Taylor can actually play there. Well, anywhere in fact 😛


  20. Is Larsson deal done with? He had agreed terms with us apparantly? Who’s to say we haven’t lined him up for the summer?


  21. Pearce – Maybe, but at least Simpson doesn’t call that hi preferred position. The frightening thing is that Taylor does 😯


  22. Australia played 4231 under their last manager. It was criticised as being too defensive
    The US is experimenting with this as well because they’re strength is in MF and they are weak up front. Sounds familiar?

    In that system, one of the DMs stays close to the back four and the other plays a more box to box role- a role that would suit Ireland and Barton


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