Newcastle's Ciaran Clark: It was NOT a hard decision to quit Villa
Newcastle United's Ciaran Clark says it was NOT a hard decision to leave Aston Villa.
The defender left Villa Park this summer after the club activated his £5million release clause.
Clark returns to Villa on Saturday for a televised Championship game.
The 26-year-old – who helped Newcastle reach the last 16 of the EFL Cup on Tuesday night – says he was quickly sold on a move to St James’s Park.
“For me, it wasn’t a hard decision at all to be honest,” said Clark.
“It happened pretty quickly. As soon as I found out the buy-out clause had been met, straightaway I wanted to get up the road and come and see what the place was about and to get things sorted.
“I did, and I’ve settled in now and am ready to go.”
Clark felt he was ready for a change, having spent his entire career at Villa.
The Republic of Ireland international – who went to Euro 2016 this summer – was also keen to play for Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez.
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Asked why it was an easy decision to join United, he said: “It was a mixture of everything – the manager, the size of the club. You can’t get any bigger.
“And the signings we’d already made showed that we would be having a good go this year.
“For me, personally, it was the right time football-wise to experience something different. I needed that fresh start in my career – a new club, manager and set of lads.”
United are third in the Championship after eight games, while Villa, also relegated last season, are in 18th place.
And asked about his fresh start on Tyneside, Clark said: “I think, for myself personally, I’ve seen a lot of stuff at Villa.
“I’ve been through a lot of managers. You never know what’s going to happen and you never know what’s around the corner, but I felt there was stability here and that I could improve my game as well.
“So far, I’ve settled in well, and feel like I’m improving.”