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Player insists he was misquoted in reports on Friday

Stephen Ireland has moved to distance himself from negative comments he allegedly made about Aston Villa and his hometown.

Reports emerged on Friday that Ireland had been critical of the Midlands club and had makiderogatory comments regarding Gerard Houllier and the cities of Birmingham and Cork.

However, the 24 year-old has responded by insisting he was misquoted and believes that the comments have been "blown out of proportion".

"I'm upset with what has been printed this morning because I feel like I've been portrayed in the wrong way," he told Sky Sports.

"I was misquoted and things have been blown way out of proportion. That is the reason why I feel like I needed to say something because the quotes are very unfair.

"What I said during the interview has been twisted to sound particularly blunt and a lot of what was written about my hometown of Cork - which me and my family visit regularly - was just plain ridiculous."

Ireland joined Newcastle United on loan in January after proving surplus to requirements following the appointment of Houllier as Aston Villa manager.

He has denied the comments attributed to him, which were derogatory about the city of Birmingham, and has apologised for the offence caused.

"The comments regarding Birmingham were also taken way out of context as I had only been at Villa a few months and didn't even live there so I have no idea what Birmingham is like to live in and everyone I have met from Birmingham has been nice," he said.

“My girlfriend's father is from Birmingham so why would I say that, it's just crazy.

"I can only apologise if anyone was offended, but the way the interview was written made me sound very harsh, and I am not that kind of person."

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