By Declan Taylor

Arsène Wenger has singled out Stephen Ireland for praise ahead of Manchester City’s visit to Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

Ireland, who has been at City since the age of 15, has caught the eye with his industry and guile in a very fluid attacking unit this term. And his seven goals and seven assists suggest that he rarely flatters to deceive.

Wenger believes that it’s this “efficiency” that has helped the 22-year-old prove his worth in Mark Hughes’ multi-million-pound squad.

“He's a very good player with good work rate, good vision and a good technical level,” said the Arsenal manager. “[He has] good efficiency as well in terms of assists.

“I personally rate him. I believe he has had a good season and since I have known him, he is a good player. I am surprised that he didn’t play in the national team.”

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3 Apr 2009