The former Republic of Ireland international has struggled since joining Aston Villa from Manchester City in an £8m deal in 2010 but Lambert hinted Ireland is an important part of his plans at Villa Park.
“Stephen is a naturally gifted footballer, really naturally gifted,” said Lambert.
“I don’t know what happened to him the last bit [of his time here], but it is up to us to get the best out of him.
“He is a really talented player, really clever. We have to pull together what he is capable of as a team. The team is always more important than the individual.
“You are only as good as the person next to you. I’m a great believer in that.
“We need Steven and Steven needs the team to help him but he is a really talented footballer.”
He added: “I think the way Stephen plays you try and give him licence to make things happen.
“To be creative is a really hard thing to be and he has got that creativity in his armoury.”
Ireland moved to Villa with a big reputation after scoring 20 goals in five seasons for City, winning the club’s Player of the Season award in 2009.
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