Photos: Stoke player Stephen Ireland's tumultuous Aston Villa career in pictures

Aston Villa V Arsenal Ireland Song Herd

The midfielder left the club in 2013 in less than happy circumstances.

Stoke face Aston Villa at Villa Park this afternoon in what will be Tim Sherwood's first game in charge of the club in the Premier League.

For one Stoke player, it will be a welcome return to the stadium.

Stephen Ireland has trained this week and overcome a recent injury problem to be fit for the game. Of course Ireland had a very unhappy time at Villa earlier in his career.

The midfield creator joined the club in 2010 after first-team opportunities became limited at former club Manchester City.

In that time he struggled to have an impact. It took him until December 2011 to score his first goal for the Midlands club and that started his best run of form at the club. It was so impressive he was voted the Aston Villa Supporters' player of the season for 2011-12.

However he became a victim of the cost cutting Paul Lambert was asked to do. He was made to train with the reserves in 2013 and in the summer transfer window earned a move to Stoke.

In August of last year Ireland spoke to the Daily Mail about his time at Villa, stating that the club 'took the p**s' and made him train by himself in an attempt to get him to leave the club.

He will be hoping to make them pay for that treatment this afternoon.

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