It is obviously a welcome boost to hear that Ireland has signed a new deal but I am thinking ahead and wondering if Ireland signing can attract new players. He was fabulous this year and now has a reputation of being one of the best midfielders in the league, surely his fellow professionals have took note of his form and will want to play along side such a good player?
Here's what Stephen had to say on signing his new contract...........
"It was something that I've been worrying about for a few months but now it's done I can enjoy the summer.
"I never had any doubts about staying. Regardless, I was going to be here, and hopefully for the remainder of my career. I don't see why not. I really want to become a hero here, to hopefully achieve things.
"I'm settled here - I love the club, I love the fans, and I don't see what's going to make me leave this club.
"These are very exciting times. It's going to be interesting just to see what the line-up will be at the start of next season and how far we can push on. Hopefully we can compete for the title and get back into Europe."
"I've always trusted my ability, but it's only this season I've come out of my shell. I worked hard last summer to try and reach the targets I set myself. I reached some, the others are something to aim at next season.
"But I never take my place for granted. I don't think I ever would, I don't like to take my foot off the gas."
Hughes had this to say about Ireland signing..................“Stephen’s new contract is great news for everyone concerned. He was outstanding all last season and is now one of the best midfielders in the Premier League. He thoroughly deserves all the praise that has gone his way after the hard work that he undertook last summer, and I know that he is already aiming to do even better for us next season and beyond”.