Ciaran Clark was only too pleased to come to Newcastle and leave Aston Villa and he simply wanted to play for Rafa Benitez.
Ciaran was born in Harlow and he joined Villa as an 11 year-old and came through their excellent Youth system and when he left Aston Villa in early August, he had played 159 times with 10 goals.
We signed Ciaran for a reasonable £5M and he can play at center-back and left-back and occasionally even in defensive midfield.
We’ve always thought Ciaran was a very good player but he’s a confidence player too – when he’s high on confidence he looks very good.
Ciaran Clark – 26 year-old Newcastle defender
He played for the England Youth sides – U-17, U-18, U-19 and U-20 – and he has 19 full caps for Ireland – he qualifies because his parents are both Irish.
Ciaran is currently with the Ireland squad and he has been interviewed in The Times:
“Benitez was a massive reason why I joined.” “That and the other players who have signed.” “I feel like I’m learning already.”
“Every time you step on to the training pitch, he tries to improve you as a team and an individual.”
“That’s something I haven’t had much of over the last few years.” “He picks up on everything, every little detail.”
“You would never have thought it was a club that has just been relegated.” “It’s been brilliant and mad.”
“I think it’s going to take a bit of getting used to and it’ll take a while before we get into a rhythm.”
The lads struggled a bit at the start of the season losing our first two games, but we seem to be getting into the swing of things winning four games in a row.
You could even say that in a couple of months Rafa transformed Moussa Sissoko into a top player and it showed in the Euro 2016 Championships.
But Sissoko couldn’t see that, so we flogged him for £30M – maybe £20M more than he was worth before the European Championships.
Rafa has some very good technical players in the Newcastle squad with good characters – and we expect to be better next May after a season of being coached by Rafa and his team.
That sounds good to us.
Rafa’s been the best signing Newcastle United have made for a very long time.