Ciaran Clark was a shock choice to replace Paul Dummett against Manchester United two weeks ago. He had not featured in the Premier League for Newcastle since January.
Speaking in the lead up to the Chelsea match, Steve Bruce explained why he had given Ciaran Clark the nod against Manchester United over Paul Dummett and Federico Fernandez.
This is what the head coach said:
“I just thought, Ciaran, he trains every day and works hard at it.
“And if I was going to leave Dummy out, and make that decision, then I thought Ciaran was best equipped because he’s naturally left-sided and gives the team a better balance. That was important, that’s why he got the nod.”
Steve Bruce’s decision to bring the 30-year-old in from the cold has been an inspired one. Clark has put in two excellent performances, and in yesterday’s match at Stamford Bridge, he was arguably the best defender on the pitch.
With all the competition for places in central defense, especially when Florian Lejeune is deemed ready for selection, Clark’s performances have made Bruce’s selection dilemma even tougher.
Clark almost was away this summer. However, Bruce kept the experienced defender behind as cover. It turned out to be a wise decision by the head coach.
This is what Ciaran said after his return to the fold against Manchester United:
“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.”
Clark has put in two excellent performances and now has to be under consideration for a third straight start against Wolves on Sunday.
Ciaran Clark– put in two straight inspiring displays
Ciaran Clark’s performances have come as no surprise to former teammate Darren Bent. Speaking to Football Insider, the former Premier League striker had this to say about Clark’s recent displays:
“I played with Ciaran at Villa for a few years. The same Ciaran you’re seeing there is the same one we used to see in matches and training where you’d hit shots and he’d block absolutely everything.
“He’s actually a defender who likes to defend which is a funny thing to say as some defenders are good footballers yet they don’t want to put their body on the line, but he will.
“To be fair, what is good is that he has been at Newcastle a while now and he understands what it takes to play for that football club, if you’re a striker they expect you to score as they’ve had a long list of prolific strikers and if you’re defender, you’re expected to defend.
“They’re passionate fans up there and they won’t expect anything less than 100% and Ciaran knows that he will fight tooth and nail for that football club and as I said he’ll take shots to the face, put his body in the way, he’ll just do anything to stop the ball going in the net.”
Ciaran put on some display yesterday as he put his body on the line time and again. The defense was under constant threat all game and the lads almost did enough to come away with a result.
Clark is also a threat on set pieces with this aerial ability. He has 8 goals in his Newcastle career and scored 3 last season in limited opportunities.
We are thrilled that Ciaran has gotten a second chance at Newcastle. He’s never let the club down and epitomizes what it takes to be a team player.