Stephen Ireland has today pledged his future to Manchester City by signing a five year contract with the Club.
The new deal sees the 21 year old midfielder, who made his debut for the Blues in 2005, commit to the Club until June 2012. Ireland, who first came to prominence at City’s successful youth academy has played over 60 times for the Blues and has won six Republic of Ireland caps.
Impressive form in pre-season led Sven-Goran Eriksson to pick Stephen for the opening day win over West Ham and in four subsequent games, as the player shone in the company of the new manager’s summer signings.
Stephen exclusively told www.mcfc.co.uk: “I am delighted to commit my future to Manchester City. The last week has been extremely difficult for my family and I but it is a terrific boost to sign a long term deal, which I hope shows my commitment to the Club and the fans as well as the Club’s commitment to me.
“I am very settled at the club and the support I have received from my partner, family and everybody around me has been fantastic.
“The events surrounding my withdrawal from the Ireland squad last week have been well publicised and are not something I want to dwell on. However, I want to reiterate my regret over what happened. I received some very upsetting news when I was told by my partner that she had suffered a mis-carriage and unfortunately became swept up in an unforeseen series of events on an issue that was deeply personal to us. At no time did I realise that an issue which should have been private and confidential between my partner and I would receive so much media attention - but now it is time for me to move on.
“I would like to thank everybody who has sent me messages of support over the last few days, including fans of City and Ireland. The understanding shown to me by Sven Goran Eriksson, the City players and backroom staff has been fantastic. I am glad to be back training at City and looking forward to being part of the squad to travel to Fulham on Saturday.
“I have been more satisfied with my form this season than at any time since I broke into the first team squad. There is such a positive great mood amongst our squad and we are all completely focused on maintaining our excellent start to the season.”
Ireland’s new contract comes after two other Academy graduates, Nedum Onuoha and Michael Johnson, both committed their futures to the Club during the summer.
Commenting on the deal, City’s Chief Executive Alistair Mackintosh said, “Stephen’s new contract is a reward for his improvement over the last two years. It also underlines the Club’s policy of enhancing the squad through both the kind of signings made since Sven’s arrival and the continuing development of our excellent home-grown players from the Academy.”