Aston Villa midfielder Stephen Ireland today insisted there is no bitterness or jealousy towards his old Manchester City team mates as he prepares to face his former club.
Ireland left the Etihad Stadium to join Villa in August 2010 as part of the deal which saw James Milner move in the other direction for £24m.
Since the 26-year-old Irishman left City they have signed a host of superstar names and have gone on to win the FA Cup and the Premier League title.
But Ireland conceded his departure was an inevitable part of City manager Roberto Mancini’s spending spree bankrolled by Sheikh Mansour, and does not begrudge any of the players at his old club the success they have had.
“I have no envy whatsoever. I was just delighted for friends of mine like Micah Richards, Vincent Kompany and Joe Hart,” said Ireland.
“They’ve worked hard, for years they have talked about it, so I was thrilled for them. If I had stayed there I wouldn’t have been involved anyway.
“I don’t think I’m good enough to get in that team because they have so much quality.
“I live in the same area as Roberto – I bump into him occasionally and we have a chat. I understand it was a football decision. It was the right time for me to leave.”