The Day Stephen Ireland Caused Rio Ferdinand's Veins To Pop

The Day Stephen Ireland Caused Rio Ferdinand's Veins To Pop

One of Nedum Onuoha's favourite memories of playing with Stephen Ireland at Manchester City is from the 2008 derby game at Old Trafford when they beat Manchester United 2-1 with goals from Darius Vassell and Benjani.

Much to Rio Ferdinand's annoyance, Ireland got the better of him that day.

"Darius scored in the first half, and we knew that every time Darius had scored, we’d never lost a game," Onuoha said in conversation with Ireland on his Kickback with Nedum pocast.

"And I’m sitting in the dressing room at half-time looking across at him, and I’m looking at you as well, and I was just like ‘ha, nobody say anything, nobody say a word’.

"In that game itself, I remember you must have taken the ball of Rio [Ferdinand] probably five to ten times.

"He was trying to play reverse balls, no looks, and it was like ‘no! Stevie read that’, and it got to a point where it was hilarious.’

"For as great a player that Rio is and was that day, he did not know how to deal with you. I was so grateful you were on our team. That was probably the most lost he’s ever been in his whole career. What a moment that was."


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Ireland recalled: "He was trying to double bluff me. He was trying to give me the eyes by not giving me the eyes. And I still took it!

"Then it got to the point where he was calling me an effin little something. He was just getting so frustrated. Veins were popping out of his neck. He was just hunting me. I look back at that laughing as well.

"That's a skill I developed. It was like playing dumb or playing a sleeper."

Picture credit: ph.FAB / & PhotoLondonUK /

See Also: Roy Keane Explains How His Attitude To Diet And Alcohol Changed At Man Utd

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PJ Browne
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