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Stephen Ireland has urged new boss Roberto Mancini to continue to set him free.

The reigning player of the season looked back to his best in the final 70 minutes of the win over Stoke City and he reckons it was no coincidence that his influence and confidence grew in tandem after a switch in formation.

Ireland started on the right side of a four man midfield, a throwback to the days of Stuart Pearce and Sven-Goran Eriksson.

“I am willing to play anywhere and do anything I can to enable he team to be successful but I have never made a secret of the fact that I am happier in a more central role,” declared the long serving midfielder.

“I started on the right in a 4-4-2 but we switched to a 4-3-3 quite early against Stoke and it enabled me to get on the ball more and influence the game. I think that is where I play my best football.


Hopefully that is something I will be able to repeat under the new manager. I feel like the chains were off against Stoke after I had been doing a lot of sitting so far this season.

...Stephen Ireland


Although at 23-years-old he is no veteran, Ireland has been around the first team long enough to see managers and coaches come and go at City and he remains philosophical about the latest change at the helm that has seen former Inter boss Mancini take over from Mark Hughes.

“The change of manager was a shock to the system for everyone in the dressing room, we didn’t really see it coming,” he revealed. “But we are professionals and we have to get on with it.

“For me I have already played under loads of managers here. They have come and gone and it is a shame. It could happen to anyone in football, including me. It is a shame for the people involved but you have to put it behind you as quickly as possible.

“Football moves on very quickly. We have to train every day and prepare for games and there is no time to dwell on these things and get over them. You have to respect the decision and adjust to the new manager’s ideas and get used to his ways.

“If you want to be part of things here and be part of where we are going then you have to just get on with things.

“Roberto Mancini got everyone together and is keen for the staff to bond as quickly as possible with the players.  The new manager has encouraged us to play football on the floor and only play it long as a last resort.”

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