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Stephen Hunt sets record straight on Stephen Ireland rumours


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In the immediate aftermath of a revealing interview with Stephen Ireland, his former international teammate Stephen Hunt dismissed rumours that he had behaved inappropriately toward the former Manchester City midfielder. 

Throughout a lengthy exploration of his playing career to date, Ireland, in conversation with The Athletic, discussed aspects of his time within the international set-up.

From describing the elation of his breakthrough to his ignominious exit after only six caps, Stephen Hunt, a teammate of Ireland's during this period, used the opportunity of Ireland's candid interview to address reports regarding his own behaviour toward the former Manchester City midfielder on Wednesday's OTB AM.

"The story broke yesterday," he noted, "and I had some numpty on social media tweet me about tying [Stephen Ireland] down and cutting his hair.

"I've never hit anybody in my life, never mind tie someone down and shave their hair off. Can I just put that rumour dead straight away?

"I'm an aggressive person on the pitch but off the pitch, I don't really have that in me to be honest with you.

"It just never happened."

In the aftermath of Stephen Ireland's 2007 exit from the national team, reports circulated regarding his treatment at the hands of his Irish teammates.

Hunt was among those who vehemently denied the accuracy of these reports at the time.

"Stephen Ireland always kept himself to himself," stated Hunt on this morning's OTB AM, "he had his dodgy hairstyles [and] they were the talking point of the changing room for sure.

"But like, my grey hair is a talking point, like my [long] hair was a talking point, no different to Stephen.

"There was no difference in how Stephen Ireland was treated to how Stephen Hunt was treated in the squad.

"You get stick and it was part and parcel of football. I used to get hammered when I went over there."

Recalling this period within the international squad, Hunt explained the manner in which such behaviour would manifest itself.

"Stephen would come in with one of his hairstyles one day," he explained, "and we're all eating soup and wouldn't put our heads up because we wanted to take the mickey out of Stephen.

"I'm sure Stephen would now see the funny side of that. He had hair that he'd stitched in, it is what it is, at the time he wanted to have hair [and] it is personal to some men.

"But listen, I've had so much stick over my hair, I don't cry about it."

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