Aston Villa’s Paul Lambert vows to get best out of Stephen Ireland
Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert wants to get the best out of the "naturally talented" Stephen Ireland this season
Paul Lambert has revealed he is determined to get the best out of Aston Villa’s “naturally gifted” Stephen Ireland this season.
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.