Rafa Benitez has praised stand-in Newcastle captain Ciaran Clark for his performance at Burnley on Monday, praising his ability to come in from the cold and play at such a high level against a physical Burnley front line.
I have been critical of Clark at times over the past year or so, feeling he is pretty suspect at this level, but he did do a great job on Monday in Lascelles’ absence – not only defending well but scoring what proved to be a crucial second goal for us.
Here’s what Rafa said to the Shields Gazette after the defender’s return to the side on Monday:
“I think they did really well. For someone who was not playing to play at the level he played, I’m really pleased with him.”
“I think he did well. The three centre-backs had to adapt to two strong strikers, and after they put more big lads on the pitch,”
The fact that Clark is now our FIFTH choice centre-back shows just how strong we are at the back, with Lascelles, Lejeune, Fernandez and Schar all appearing to be ahead of him in the pecking order when fit.
Clark can ‘do a job’, and Monday night’s performance was proof of that, but when we have all our centre-backs fit, he’s not going to get much of a look in, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him leave for a promotion chasing Championship side in January.
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