From unpromising beginnings, Ciaran Clark has become arguably indispensable to Newcastle United.

Villa fans claimed not to care about his departure, Newcastle supporters were bemused at the signing of a surplus centre-back who looked clear 4th choice, then a nervous debut against Reading when he gave away a daft penalty.

However, Ciaran Clark has proved to be the ‘find’ of the season, if you can count a 27 year old international footballer, who has played all his previous club football in the Premier League, a ‘find’.

Clark’s form has been outstanding and looking at the past 9 matches he has played, in every single one he has been rated by the fans as one of Newcastle’s top three performers.

After each game, Newcastle supporters are asked to give marks out of 10 for each player and the interactive system then produces a collective average for each individual, based on thousands of supporters’ votes.

These are the players who have featured in the top three individuals of Newcastle games, followed by who the top players were in each of those games.

9 Ciaran Clark

8 Jonjo Shelvey

3 Karl Darlow, Dwight Gayle

2 Jamaal Lascelles

1 Isaac Hayden, Yoan Gouffran, Aleksandar Mitrovic, Ayoze Perez, Matt Ritchie, Christian Atsu

The last 9 Ciaran Clark matches and top 3 performers in each, voted by the fans:

Hull 1 Newcastle 1

7.1 Clark, 6.6 Lascelles, 6.3 Hayden/Shelvey

Newcastle 0 Blackburn 1

6.6 Darlow, 5.9 Clark, 5.5 Shelvey

Leeds 0 Newcastle 2

8.4 Gayle, 7.7 Darlow, 7.5 Clark/Shelvey/Lascelles

Newcastle 2 Cardiff 1

7.3 Clark, 7.1 Shelvey, 6.7 Gouffran

Preston 1 Newcastle 2

8.2 Mitrovic, 7.9 Clark, 7.8 Darlow

Newcastle 3 Ipswich 0

7.8 Shelvey/Perez, 7.4 Clark

Barnsley 0 Newcastle 2

9.1 Gayle, 7.9 Shelvey, 7.6 Clark/Ritchie

Newcastle 3 Brentford 1

8.8 Shelvey, 8.1 Gayle, 8.0 Clark

Rotherham 0 Newcastle 1

7.8 Atsu, 7.4 Clark, 7.1 Shelvey

Jonjo Shelvey is blatantly vital to Newcastle’s chances this season but these stats suggest that Ciaran Clark is just as essential at the back.