Date: 5th March 2012 at 4:07pm
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Alex McLeish has said he has challenged Stephen Ireland to fill Robbie Keane’s boots now the on loan striker has returned to the States.

Speaking to the herald.ie Eck said that he was looking for Ireland to really kick on now and show that he is as hungry as Robbie Keane was for goals, and he though the Blackburn game was the perfect sign that he was capable of doing it:

‘We said before the game that these guys have got to take big responsibility now. It’s a great opportunity for these boys to show that they can really be top players for Villa. Robbie was more of a goalscorer who linked the midfield to attack, Stevie’s slightly different but we’re now challenging him to be as hungry to score goals.’

McLeish added about the Rovers hiccup:

‘Stevie was excellent, he was a real thorn in Blackburn’s side, but the changes made it more difficult for him to find space in the second half.’

I thought he had perfect space but it’s difficult for him to get on the ball when it’s travelling 80 yards from defence again.

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