It was great to see Ciaran Clark make his first Premier League appearance since January. While he did start in the Carabao Cup match against Leicester City in August, appearances have been few and far between for the 30-year-old.
Clark was linked with a move away this summer with several clubs, including Crystal Palace and Stoke City, reported to being interested.
However, Steve Bruce wanted to hold onto the 32-time capped Irish international despite him making just 11 Premier League appearances last term.
Clark has spoken about what transpired over the summer that led to him staying at Newcastle. The Shields Gazette have published his comments:
“Over the last couple of seasons I’ve found myself in and out of the team. I’ve wanted to just play more regularly.
“I had a chat with the manager towards the end of the window. He said he wanted to keep as many people here as possible to assess what he had.
“It’s about waiting for my chance, and I’ve tried to stay positive until I got that chance. Luckily enough, I got the chance, and we got the clean sheet and the win.”
“It has been hard because we have a lot of center-halves fit now. We’ve not had that situation over the last couple of years. We have to keep training well – and wait for that chance.
“It was great to get out there and keep a clean sheet. To top it with the win was brilliant.
“Its all about staying in there. Sometimes it’s not just about how well you’re training, it’s about how well you do on the pitch in games.
“Hopefully, I’ve given the manager a tough decision.”
Ciaran Clark has always been a reliable player for Newcastle. He was a brilliant pick-up from Aston Villa in our promotion season in the Championship, where he made 34 appearances in the league.
His time on the pitch has steadily decreased since then, however, as he did not make a single appearance after January last year. He has just the two starts this year.
With Florian Lejeune on his way back to full fitness, the competition at center-back is going to get even stronger. However, Ciaran is a top professional and will be ready the next time his name gets called.