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Ireland: Premier League players worth every penny

Stephen Ireland insists Premier League footballers are fully deserving of their lavish wage slips.

Ireland instantly became the biggest earning star in the Aston Villa dressing room when he signed for the midlands club earlier this week, but he has no qualms in insisting the likes of Robbie Keane, Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney are worthy of their lavish earnings.

"It's not up to me to argue what any footballer should be paid and I don't have any problem in saying I'm worth the money I'm getting now," insists Ireland, who has just been handed a multi-million pound severance payment to leave Manchester City and join Aston Villa.

"I was City's Player of the Year last season and things went well for me, so I earned the right to be paid the same as most of the other players who were in the team around me every week.

"A lot of my team-mates were on much bigger money than me at City for a long time and I'd say I have only been on what I would call decent money in the last year or so. People like Micah Richards and Michael Johnson earned more than me at times when they were not even in the first eleven.

"The reports say Yaya Toure is earning £220,000 a week at City this season and it's not his fault if they want to pay him that much. He's got every right to take the money that's offered to him and anyone would do that if they were in his position.

"People find it hard to get their heads around the sort of money footballers earn, but the television money is there and the owners at City are happy to pay these wages, so there's is no reason not to take advantage of the situation."

Multi-millionaire Ireland is planning to move his family from the £5 million Manchester mansion he has used as his base in recent years and admits he has already started hunting for a house near to Villa's training base in Warwickshire.

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