Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Ciarán Clark commits to Ireland

Young highly rated Aston Villa defender Ciarán Clark is hoping to be in contention for a place in Giovanni Trapattoni's Ireland squad next month following his decision to pledge his international future to Ireland.

Central Defender Clark is one of the brightest young stars at Villa Park and was called on to replace Richard Dunne last Saturday when he picked up an injury during the Premier League game with champions Chelsea, a game in which he impressed with his solid defending and cool head. And with a glancing header hitting the inside of the Chelsea post as the game neared its end, Clark almost broke his premiership duck after only four appearances for Villa.

Clark had been capped by England at underage level but after some discussions with Dublin born Dunne, Clark has decided to commit to Ireland. The 21-year-old has strong Irish connections as his mother is from Drumshambo, Co Leitrim, his father, although born in Scotland, grew up in Donegal and all four of Clark's grandparents were born in Ireland.

"I played for England at youth level but I didn't think I was going anywhere in that department. So when a young lad gets an opportunity like I have with Ireland, it's very hard to turn down," says Clark.

"Richard Dunne played a big part in me linking up with the Republic. He mentioned it to the Irish officials. And then they contacted me and Aston Villa at the start of the season.

"They gave me time to think about it to make a decision and I think I could be in contention for the next international if all the paperwork has gone through. It's fingers crossed. I have to keep working hard and hoping that it will happen," added Clark.

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