STEPHEN IRELAND ADMITS it’s ‘highly unlikely’ he’ll be in Poland with Ireland this summer for the European Championships.
The Aston Villa midfielder has been exiled from the Irish set-up since departing in controversial circumstances five years ago. Giovanni Trapattoni has since failed to lure him back to the fold.
Today however, in an interview with the BBC’s Football Focus, the Cobh native says he may ‘review’ the situation after Euro 2012.
“I think it’s highly unlikely that I’ll be involved in the squad for the Euros,” Ireland said. “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 now says he regrets the circumstances in which he left the Irish panel. In September 2007, he fabricated the ‘death’ of a grandmother as an excuse to leave Steve Staunton’s squad and return to his heavily pregnant partner, Jessica. When it emerged she had, in fact, not died, he claimed the other granny passed away. This was also untrue, of course.
“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.”
Would you welcome him back?