Stephen Ireland "treated like a toy" at Aston Villa

Stephen Ireland of Stoke City reacts after having a goal ruled out for offside during the Barclays Premier League match against Hull City on December 14, 2013
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Stephen Ireland admits that his time at Aston Villa was a "nightmare" and they treated him "like a toy" during his four-year spell at the club.

Stoke City midfielder Stephen Ireland has admitted that he was "treated like a toy" at Aston Villa during his four-year spell at the club.

Stoke boss Mark Hughes made Ireland a permanent signing in January after a successful loan spell at the Britannia.

Ireland told the Daily Star: "They treated me like a toy. I was cast on one side. They even took me to a field on my own to train. It was an absolute nightmare.

"Mark Hughes has rescued me. It was the last day of the window and I was thinking to myself 'what am I going to do?'"

On April 15, Ireland signed a new three-year contract with Stoke, keeping him at the club until the summer of 2017.

Ireland has made 25 appearances for the Potters since his initial loan spell which began in 2013.

Bojan Krkic of Stoke City is congratulated by team-mate Marc Muniesa after scoring the equaliser during the pre season friendly match between Blackburn Rovers and Stoke City at Ewood Park on August 03, 2014
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