Unwanted Ireland Fumes At Mercenary City

Stephen Ireland launched a bitter parting shot at Manchester City as he laid bare his misery at being left out in the cold at the world's richest football club. The midfielder, who traded places with Aston Villa's James Milner in a £24million swap deal earlier this week, let rip over feeling "unwanted" at Eastlands.

Ireland, 24, claimed that manager Roberto Mancini did not enjoy a relationship with any of the players and spoke of disrespectful youngsters "walking around wearing £10,000 wristwatches as if they had played 200 games", also warned that Milner, too, will soon discover the grass is not greener.

Ireland, who complained that City's squad is full of high-profile mercenaries, said, "I've been there eight or nine years, but loyalty doesn't matter much to that club any more. It's heartbreaking the way it's all finished. From my part there is only sadness. People who I grew up playing with and who coached me are now gone. There are lots of faces who don't feel that much for Manchester City and a lot of the homegrown guys feel like that."

In an echo of the comments from Craig Bellamy, who has gone on loan to Championship club Cardiff City, Ireland added, "A lot of high-profile players are there now and I'm not sure they are going to be happy with just a place in the squad and not in the team. They want two players in each position and it'll be down to them to see how they work that"

"James Milner has obviously seen the attraction of going to Manchester City. He sees players going there and he wants to be one of those so-called superstars and nail down his place in the England team, become more established and play 90 minutes for his country. I guess he must think the grass is greener on the other side. He's going to get a shock soon. I can understand why he's gone there but I can tell him that I'm very happy to leave there and come to Villa", added Ireland.

Ireland claimed that he knew the writing was on the wall 18 months ago and that it was just a matter of time before he left. And he said that Mancini had few relationships with his players as he complained about being marginalised through no fault of his own.

He added, "I felt unwanted. I felt like I was banging my head up against a concrete wall. In fact, I haven't felt part of it at Manchester City for the past 18 months. It didn't matter what I did in training, I wasn't ever going to get anywhere. I didn't share a relationship with Mancini. The last manager I had a relationship with was Mark Hughes - Mancini doesn't do relationships".

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