Darren Bent picks out former teammate as Newcastle United star performer
Darren Bent has been talking about Newcastle United after their game at Chelsea.
Pretty much nothing to talk about in the attacking third, as Newcastle didn’t have a single corner or attempt on target.
However, there was plenty to praise at the back.
The pick of the outfield players was Ciaran Clark as he made countless blocks, tackles and interceptions in only his second Premier League start since Newcastle’s defeat at Chelsea in January 2019.
Darren Bent says he is not surprised after training and playing alongside Ciaran Clark at Aston Villa.
“Although some of Bent’s expert analysis isn’t maybe the most incisive, saying about Newcastle fans: ‘If you are a striker they expect you to score…and if you’re a defender, you’re expected to defend.’
Ciaran Clark was a brilliant buy when Rafa Benitez discovered he had a release clause price of £5m, arguably Newcastle’s best player in the promotion season, Clark had an excellent partnership with Jamaal Lascelles, making 34 Championship stars as NUFC went up as champions.
However, chances have reduced since then, only 19 Premier League starts in 2017/18 and then nine last season, before Steve Bruce ignored Clark until these last two games.
In a team that scores so few goals the defender has been a positive on that score, scoring eight league goals, including three last season when he was fourth top scorer!
He is a better footballer than Paul Dummett and after his defending on Saturday will surely keep his place on Sunday. Interesting though to see what happens once Florian Lejeune is fit again.
Darren Bent talking to Football Insider:
“The same Ciaran [Clark] you are seeing there [for Newcastle against Chelsea] is the same one we used to see in matches and training [at Villa] where you’d hit shots and he would 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 are a striker they expect you to score, as they have had a long list of prolific strikers…and if you’re a defender, you’re expected to defend.
“They are 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.”
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