Ciaran Clark – An Unsung Hero

When Ciaran Clark signed for Newcastle United last summer, many thought the Ireland international would be playing back up this season. Clark has proved a lot of people wrong this season, even I had a few doubts when the defender signed, those doubts were quickly put to bed after some commanding performances.

When Clark broke into the Newcastle United starting XI, he formed a solid partnership with club captain Jamaal Lascelles. Clark’s influence on the Newcastle United side has gone a little unnoticed with the likes of Gayle, Shelvey and Ritchie gaining a lot of the plaudits this season. Clark’s influence became clear when the defender was rocked by injury last month, missing a number of important games. Newcastle struggled defensively throughout Clark’s absence and only won two games without the defender.

Clark has been an absolute rock at the back for Newcastle for the majority of the season. His consistent performances have helped Newcastle gain promotion to the Premier League. Clark has also chipped in with three goals over the campaign. The magpies are still in with a chance of the title, going into the final game of the season against Barnsley. Newcastle must better Brighton’s result to claim first place in the Championship.

Newcastle have had an up and down season, however the form of Clark has remained at a high level. I, like many other Newcastle United fans remain baffled by the defenders exclusion from the Championship team of the year. There looks set to be a host of changes to the squad in the summer, as is the norm when a team gets promoted. Clark will be one of the mainstays of the Newcastle United side in the Premier League next season. At 27, Clark still has a lot of successful years ahead of him.

Clark made the decision to leave Aston Villa for Newcastle, in doing so he swapped what was a toxic atmosphere, for a dressing room that was being rebuilt by Rafael Benitez. A dressing room that is now full of players that show their pride in wearing the famous black and white stripes, Clark being one of them. It has been fantastic to see a squad full of players who care about playing for the club again, unfortunately it had been something that had been missing for a few seasons.

Clark is one of the many players to make great strides under the watchful eye of Rafael Benitez, the Irish international will continue to improve under the Spaniard and Newcastle fans can look forward to more impressive performances from the defender.

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