Stephen Ireland has turned his back on the Irish international soccer team for good -- and it’s now official.
The Aston Villa footballer told VIP magazine he was never going back to the national side. The magazine featured Ireland’s lavish mansion in an upcoming issue.
Asked if he had any thought about coming back Ireland said "No. It's unfortunate the way things went; it didn't end in the nicest of ways. If I could go back and change it I would but it is what it is now, so I just have to put it behind me.
"I haven't played for Ireland in four years, so I don't think it's a question of 'am I going to go back now.' I think the question is already over -- I have answered it."
"That's the way I live my life, I guess. I know who's close to me and who's not. My friends are as close to me as family and I treat them with love and respect.
"I say exactly what I feel and what I think. I haven't got much of a conscience about it either, to be honest. I just say what I think is right. If people don't like it, they don't like it, but it's exactly the way I feel," he said.
He and his long-term girlfriend Jessica Lawlor (25) say the three kids they are raising, two by his pevious relationship are their focus.
"We both really work hard when it comes to the kids," Ireland said "Rather than going nightclubbing, we'll stay in with the kids. We weren't going to have children if we weren't going to raise them, do our best by them.
"Jessica does the nitty gritty hard stuff. They play soccer with me in the garden and it's all happy, but they don't see the stuff going on in the background."
His girlfreind said marriage was likely on the cards"I'm so traditional that he'll have to ask me properly," she added. "But to be honest, we've been through so much together already, moving over here so quickly. Stephen's got two children from a previous relationship, so we took them on, then Jacob came, new house, and now everything has moved again.
"And I do feel that we're still young; we're in a situation now that many wouldn't be in until they were 35, and we're only 24 and 25. But it will happen eventually I'm sure."
you come from.
"Both Stephen and I realise that we're really lucky and we appreciate everything we've got. And, when you have three children to take care of you can't afford to be high and mighty!"
She added: "Stephen and I come from a totally working class background, but the kids have been born into this, so there is a challenge there, and it would be easy for it to go to their heads.
"There were no major privileges in our life growing up, so we are level-headed, and are determined to reflect that onto the kids. I would prefer to spoil them with love and affection rather than constantly spoiling them in a materialistic way."
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