From the mail online:
'I think he is an example to every one of the players in the squad.
'He made a decision at the end of last season that he wasn't happy with the way his career was going. He made a conscious effort to do something about it.
'Because of the work that he has done and the work some of the coaches have put in, it has enabled him to become a better player. Everyone can learn from his example.'
There is no doubt that Ireland is very much a firm favourite of Hughes, and deservedly so. At this stage of the season he looks to be sure bet for our player of the year.
Amazing to think that he was so close to being offloaded on the eve of the season.