Ireland eyes international return
Stephen Ireland is ready to make a sensational international comeback and has urged Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni to recall him to his squad.
Ireland, 26, has not played for his country since the infamous 'Grannygate' scandal of September 2007, when he lied about the death of both of his grandmothers to get out of playing for Ireland in a World Cup qualifier against the Czech Republic. But his return to form in Aston Villa colours appears to have fuelled his desire to revive his Ireland career.
After stating time and again over the last five years that he has no intention of ending his international exile, the midfielder has signalled his eagerness to pull on a green shirt once again.
"I haven't really put much thought into playing for Ireland for a long time now because no one has approached me, but it is something I will put some serious thought into," Ireland said. "At the moment it is not an issue as there haven't been any questions from the right people.
"Yes, I would meet them half way. I have nothing against the manager. I'm not sure if he has anything against me. If there is no contact, then I'll just carry on regardless, like I have done for the last few years.
"I watch all the Ireland games with great interest, the lads are doing a great job. I think they're still experimenting a bit. Damien Duff and a few others have retired, so they are trying to get the right blend in at the moment.
"I wanted them to do really well at the Euro's last summer because the squad that got them there deserved to be in that tournament. Obviously it didn't go that well for them, but it was a big enough achievement getting there.
"I hope they can have a strong campaign again this time. They could have a really good team for the future as they have a lot of really good young players and I think the future could be bright."
Ireland's dramatic come-and-get-me plea could be perfectly timed for Trapattoni, who is desperate to revive his squad with fresh talent after the horror performances at Euro 2012 and the 6-1 World Cup qualifying drubbing against Germany.
The pressure on the Italian was ramped up on Wednesday night after a youthful Republic of Ireland team were beaten 1-0 by Greece in Dublin.