Stephen James Ireland is an Irish footballer who currently plays as anattacking midfielder for Premier League club Aston Villa. Ireland was captain of the Cork Schoolboys League, Kennedy Cup team in 2000 and was the standout player in that tournament in Limerick in June 2000. In 2005, at the age of 18, he joined English Premiership club Manchester City. He played for the first team in a number of pre-season friendlies and made his competitive debut on 18 September 2005 against Bolton Wanderers. He won the Man of the Match award on his first Premier League start against Everton on 2 October 2005. On 26 December, Ireland scored his first Premier League goal for City, a left footed volley from 20 yards. The goal proved to be the only goal in a vital 1–0 victory at Sheffield United's Bramall Lane. On 20 May 2009, he was named Manchester City's Senior Player of the Year for his impressive statistics throughout the 2008–09 season. On the final day of the transfer window, 31 January 2011, Ireland joined Newcastle United on loan until the end of the season. He finally made his debut on 19 April 2011 in a 0–0 draw with Manchester United, appearing as a 65th minute substitute.