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'Dad' Stephen Ireland says he can't be seen at strip clubs at 3 am

London , Sat, 10 Mar 2012 ANI

London, Mar 10 (ANI): Stephen Ireland has said that he is a father and cannot be seen at a strip club at 3 o'clock in the morning.


The former Manchester City midfielder spoke about how his life had changed after he became a dad at a young age, insisting that he can't party like he used to. He was referring to ex teammate Mario Balotelli, who was snapped coming out of a strip club recently.


"I've got a young family and I'm a father, I can't be seen at a strip club at 3 o'clock in the morning!" the Sun quoted the 25-year-old footballer as saying


Ireland revealed his outlook on life had changed after seeing dying children on a visit to a Manchester Hospice he now supports.


He insists his image as a filthy-rich footballer - capable of splashing out 264,000 pounds on a pimped-up, customised white Bentley for his fiancee - is only part of the story.


Ireland threw himself into Aston Villa's Acorns Day, as the club attempts to raise 50,000 pounds - what it costs to run the hospice for a week.


Five years ago his international career crumbled after he lied about a family bereavement twice to pull out of Steve Staunton's Ireland squad.


The embarrassing incident led him into making a life-changing decision to devote himself to a local charity, The Francis House Children's Hospice.


"I wanted to do something worthwhile. I knew straight away it was a great cause - just seeing the kids, it triggers something inside you.


"I'm that type of person, I am always looking after people, my kids, my family, my friends.


"I donate match-worn shirts and sell them on the website with the money raised going to the hospice," he said.


Ireland says there is another side to him few fans ever get to hear and few realise he was once a teenage single dad.I had my first child when I had just turned 18 but I split up with their mother when my second baby was eight months old.


"When she moved back to Ireland I took custody of the kids. I was trying to balance raising a young family and football. I wasn't a first-team player on big money. I was on 350 pounds a week!" he said.


Ireland may not have seemed much of a catch for a WAG, yet it did not stop his fiancee Jessica falling for him.


"When Jessica met me I was a single dad. The moment I discovered at 17 that I was going to be a dad was a turning point which drove me on to work harder than anyone else.


"But it made me appreciate the value of hard work. Now people think I blow money but I don't blow money at all.


"I just feel every, now and then, if I treat myself that's normal. As long as I've worked hard for it, then that's fine," he added. (ANI)


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