Tweet turns sour for Ireland as Villa boss McLeish questions midfielder”s commitment
Stephen Ireland has been warned about his future conduct by Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish after embarrassing pictures of him smoking a Shisha pipe and drinking appeared on Twitter.
The Villa midfielder was spoken to by McLeish after his girlfriend, Jessica Lawlor, posted an image with the tagline: ‘Shisha, alcohol and Xmas songs — doesn’t get better than this.’
The picture appeared just 24 hours after Ireland had been substituted with an injury against Arsenal and in the same week that fellow Villa midfielder Barry Bannan fronted a drink-driving campaign.
Taking it easy: Stephen Ireland appeared to be smoking a a Shisha pipe
McLeish admitted he had confronted Ireland, 25, about the issue, saying: ‘I’ve spoken to Stephen but it’s not something I want to be discussing. My opinion on it will be delivered to him rather than discussing it in public. I don’t, however, think you want to be bringing attention to yourself like that.’
Asked to clarify what Ireland was trying to achieve, McLeish added: ‘I don’t know what he was doing. Was he using a Shisha pipe I don’t know what that stuff is. For all I know he could have been blowing bubbles. I have to say it’s not my world, the way players live nowadays with tweeting and posting pictures of themselves.’
Ireland was signed for 8million at the start of last season and claimed he was regularly the best player at training with Manchester City.
Frustration: Ireland (left) has failed to make an impression at Aston Villa
However, Ireland has not delivered at Villa, where McLeish has said his midfield is an area of concern.
Ireland has hardly endeared himself to Villa fans either by describing Birmingham as a ‘c**p city’ during an interview.
‘We all know he has a decent touch and he showed other attributes in the Arsenal game with his closing down,’ said McLeish.
‘He has to do more. He has been training well and he put in a shift the other night. He’s got to take that attitude into other games. He has not done himself justice in a Villa shirt.’