Ireland came through the City academy, going on to make 175 appearances in five years before leaving to join Aston Villa in 2010.
He was a mercurial talent. His touch, vision and feel for the game were unquestioned, and his dedicated fitness regime saw him excel once he broke into the first team.
His peak season came in 2008-09. He produced a quite brilliant 12 months and won City’s Player of the Year award. In a time of great change for Manchester City Football Club in light of the takeover by Abu Dhabi United Group, it was Ireland, a club-trained star, who excelled in the new era.
Our run to the UEFA Cup quarter-final was thrilling, and Ireland was a key architect.
Indeed, he scored 13 goals in 50 matches across all competitions, and when celebrating the winner against Sunderland at the Etihad, he dropped his shorts to reveal his Superman underpants.
The 'Ireland is Superman' chant was born.
And now, in a CITY+ documentary available to watch from Thursday 30 December, we back at Ireland’s golden period, with contributions from the likes of Elano, Nedum Onuoha, Jack Grealish, Esme Morgan and, of course, Ireland himself.
Watch the trailer above now for more information!
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