Despite not making an international appearance since 2007, Ireland recently suggested that he would be willing to join up with the squad again following Giovanni Trapattoni's departure.
"Stephen is still trying to get back to the levels he knows he can reach and at the moment he is not quite there," said Hughes.
"He is very close, but I think getting involved with the international squad would be a little bit premature for him at the moment.
"But certainly he has said he is more than happy to have a conversation in regard to being involved again."
Ireland joined Stoke on loan from Aston Villa in the summer.