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More to the Ireland issue?

Has the Stephen Ireland issue got the potential to be a little more serious than first envisaged?

Left out of the squad on Sunday for the Villa game, not as a disciplinary measure but more that he was perhaps not 100% focused on the game following the midweek incident that saw him leave the Ireland camp ahead of the Euro qualifier.

Sven-Goran Eriksson (and the club) had appeared to be very supportive of the player but The Times reports that Eriksson was less than happy he had not returned to training and has urged him to see a psychologist to resolve problems, all of which suggests there maybe a far greater issue than first thought for him wanting to leave the squad.

In a move which also may not endear him to many, Ireland (or 'Daddy Dick' to give his profile name) has reportedly declared (via Bebo) football to 'be shit' and bemoaned the fact that he has got 'stuck doin it'. The Times reports this as being flippant more than anything, but flippant comments sometimes have a nasty habit of backfiring on you.

One thing in Ireland's favour in all of this is that Eriksson is known as a staunch supporter of his players and I don't see a situation where he will be admonished (publicly at least) and much like with players in the past I think the club will provide whatever support is required, but it maybe that we don't see Ireland back on the pitch for a little while.