Stephen Ireland has pledged to make his Ireland return this year but doesn’t want to gatecrash the European Championship party.

Ireland has told the new Irish Sun on Sunday that he "loves his country" and is ready to sort out a comeback with manager Giovanni Trapattoni.

Almost five years after he walked out of the Ireland camp in Prague, Ireland wants to play for his national team and is ready to wait for the World Cup qualifiers in the autumn.

He said: “My kids are at a good age that I can now focus on
considering a return if the question was to come my way.

“I do love my country and I hope to get back playing for Ireland again.”

The Aston Villa midfielder also insisted that he is not looking to jump on the Euro bandwagon in Poland this summer.

He added: “The lads that got us to Poland deserve to travel to the finals. They will do Ireland proud.

“It is going to be a very tough group but I know they can make a real impact.

“I am buzzing about the European Championships and I will be supporting the team all the way.”

Stephen IrelandGoogle Images