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Ireland ruled out

Stephen Ireland has been ruled out of Manchester City's Premier League trip to Burnley with an ankle injury.

The midfielder missed Monday's victory over Wigan but Roberto Mancini hoped he would be fit in time to feature at Turf Moor.

However, Ireland has not made the progress Mancini hoped and has already been ruled out.


It is perhaps a measure of how far Ireland's stock has fallen over the past 12-18 months that news of him being ruled out of a game has virtually no impact on the selection of the side, even with a debate over whether to rest Nigel de Jong to avoid a suspension and with Patrick Vieira struggling to find form.

Injury troubles or not it is difficult to imagine Ireland featuring in any meaningful way between now and the end of the season. Roberto Mancini has virtually comitted himself to playing a 4-4-2 to go with Adebayor and Tevez as an attacking pairing. If Mancini then deploys two wide midfielders (Bellamy and Johnson as his favoured options) there is no room for Ireland in the side as he will surely play two defensive minded players in the centre.

During 2009/10 Ireland has made twenty-one league starts with a further five appearances from the bench. However, he has only two goals and two assists - and the 2007/08 season is really beginning to fade fast.