Did Villa get the better deal in Milner-Ireland switch?

by admin

Friday, August 20th, 2010

No, before you ask, you have read the title of this post correctly! Some idiot (i.e me) does actually believe that Stephen Ireland will turn out to be a more influential player for Aston Villa than James Milner will be for Man City. On the face of it, I agree this sounds ludicrious. How will one of England’s brightest young prospects and a consistent Premier League performer be a ‘worse’ signing than a player who has struggled on and off the field over the past few seasons?

The obvious point to make is that James Milner will be one of just a number of star players on show at the City of Manchester stadium. With the vast array of midfield and attacking options at the disposal of Roberto Mancini, will Milner be a shoe-in pick every game? In order to achieve the same high level of consistency that he did last season, I would argue that Milner needs to be playing week in, week out – he just seems the sort of energetic player who thrives on game time and needs to settle into a groove of regular matches.  Stephen Ireland, on the other hand, will be looked upon as a direct replacement for Milner at Villa Park. As an attacking midfielder himself, Ireland will be relied upon to provide the same spark, goals and assists as Milner. Without the same level of competition in his path, Ireland has a chance to get back to playing regular football again and maybe of reaching the level of form that saw him linked with a move to Arsenal back in 2007.

If we look at their careers stats, there is not much between them in terms of goal scoring. Ireland has managed  23 goals in 138 games for Man City, whereas Milner has scored 25 goals in 248 career appearances. If Ireland can continue his goal scoring form at Villa Park, the blow of losing Milner might not be such a huge one afterall. The big question is whether Ireland can replicate the number of assists made by Milner last season (12, 3rd best in the Premiership). If he can harness his creative spark then I see him being a more valuable player than Milner. For Villa, keeping Ashley Young is an important step in addition to the emergence of players such as Marc Albrighton, who made a promising start to his Premier League career in the opening day win over West Ham.

To summarise, Villa probably received more money than they should for Milner (but I suppose a player is worth what a club is prepared to pay for him) and in return also received a player who may still be a bit rough around the edges but has the potential to be something much more.

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  • kolo

    Ireland is too weak, had half a good season at city, but when playing the big teams was brushed aside like a child. He’s pretty stupid as well. He lacks intelligence on and off the pitch. This is the player who doesn’t like staying in hotel, night before games and will drive home. He quit Ireland because they took the mick out of him for having a wig!

    He can only play in one position, as he doesn’t work hard enough off the ball, very much a fair weather player, won’t dig in if it’s not going well for him. He’s certainly not a direct replacement for milner, as he is not capable of playing such a prominent role in the middle with petrov. He will need to play behind the striker, otherwise he will sulk as he did with Hughes last season.

  • ThanksThaksin

    Stephen Ireland is a good player in one position where i think James Milner can play good in different positions and it this whats makes it a good move for us plus he is english, Stephen Ireland will do well at Villa i think and good luck to him i wont be bitter.


  • Milk

    You use the word ‘consistent’ to explain Ireland, yet this is one word most City fans wouldn’t use to describe him as.
    I’m never happy when City lose a player who has come through the books, especially one who has gone on to be voted, correctly, as our player of the year in the past. Unfortunatley Ireland’s problem is he can only play in a very specific position, a free role, he is very limited when it comes to playing as a flat centre mid and poor out wide.
    I wish him all the best and hope he can fufil his undoubted potential.

  • M5Villa

    Sad to be losing Milner, he’s a great player but is he worth £18m more than Ireland?

  • BobbyBolton

    Milner is a decent Premier League player, but is he really worth 28 million?

    I like Ireland, good engine, gets stuck in but has an eye for a pass too

  • Confused.com

    “not much between them in terms of goal scoring.”
    23/138 or 25/245, so Ireland only 107 games to catch up to Milner’s 25 goals.

    Dontcha just love stats?

  • Barry’sboots

    Both good players but totally different. SI is a better “footballer” whereas Milner is a better workhorse. I would have preferred, as a Villan, to keep Milly BUT I do believe thatif we switch to the 4-2-3-1 then Ireland can be very successful of the main striker.

    Milner will make Citeh make like Chelski as his game is pace and power whereas Villa will be more akin to Arsenal in style with Ireland directing the game as a conductor would his orchestra (hopefully!!).

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