“I still speak to him now a fair bit.”
Jack Grealish has praised Stephen Ireland and said Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola would have loved to have coached the former Republic of Ireland midfielder.
Ireland made 175 appearances for Man City between 2005 and 2010. The Irish midfielder was a star player for City in the season after Abu Dhabi took over the club.
Ireland was named Man City’s player of the year in 2009 under manager Mark Hughes but fell out of favour under his successor Roberto Mancini.
Jack Grealish praises Stephen Ireland.
Ireland joined Aston Villa in 2010 and crossed paths with Grealish, who was a youth team player at the time. Grealish, Man City’s record signing, has praised Ireland and said he is still in contact with the former Stoke City midfielder.
“As soon as there was talk that he was going to sign for Villa, it was big,” Grealish said in a new documentary about Ireland’s time with Man City.
“At the time, I was a number 10 coming through at Villa. He was someone that I really looked up to always. He always gave us good information, and that was good with the young lads.
“I still speak to him now a fair bit. He was happy when I signed here because he sent me a lovely message.”
Grealish also said that Ireland would be good enough to play for the current Man City team and that Guardiola would have loved to have coached such a ‘technically gifted’ midfielder.
“Yeah, of course, 100 per cent,” Grealish said.
“The way he’s so technically gifted, Pep would love him. Playing in this team now is a pleasure to do. I’m sure Stevie Ireland would have loved to be involved in it.”
Grealish made the comments in a new documentary about Ireland’s time at Man City. The Cork-native represented Ireland on six occasions before stepping away from international duty in 2007.