Sky Sports pundit praises ‘underrated’ NUFC player – & reveals what he’s like to play with

Former Sunderland striker Darren Bent has heaped praise on Ciaran Clark following another impressive performance from the Irish international against Chelsea on Saturday.

Clark came into the side against Manchester United and kept his place for the weekend trip to Chelsea – and he didn’t let us down, making several key blocks and clearances in a resilient defensive display.

Bent, who played with Clark at Aston Villa, has had this to say about the Newcastle centre-half when asked if he was underrated by Football Insider:

“Yeah, 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.”

Bent’s words are spot on, Clark does give his all whenever he wears the black and white shirt and has been a shrewd signing since joining the club from Aston Villa in August 2016. He is never one to whine or moan should he find himself out the team, and is certainly somebody the fans can rely on when given the opportunity.

Clark has done well considering he found himself down the pecking order last season. Central defence is arguably Newcastle’s strongest position, and when the team operates in its favoured 5-4-1 formation and has everyone fit, it still leaves 3 first team central defenders out the side. 

When fit Fabian Schar and captain Jamaal Lascelles are shoo-ins to make the side, which leaves Paul Dummett, Ciaran Clark, Florian Lejeune and Federico Fernandez competing for the final defensive slot. 

One thing Clark has in his favour, however, is his goal threat from set-pieces. Despite not being a regular in the team for a lot of his time at St James’ Park, Clark has scored 8 goals from 67 appearances since joining from Aston Villa in August 2016.

Would you keep him in the side ahead of Sunday’s game against Wolves?

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