Ciaran Clark reveals how close he came to leaving Newcastle United
Ciaran Clark has admitted that he considered his future at Newcastle United in the summer – until Steve Bruce told him he would not be allowed to leave.
Clark made his first Premier League appearance of the season in Sunday’s 1-0 win over Manchester United at St James’s Park.
Crystal Palace had been linked with a move for Clark, signed from Aston Villa three years ago, in the summer. Bruce, however, blocked a move.
“Over the last couple of seasons I’ve found myself in and out of the team,” said the 30-year-old. “I’ve wanted to just play more regularly.
“I had a chat with the manager towards the end of the window. He said he wanted to keep as many people here as possible to assess what he had. It’s about waiting for my chance, and I’ve tried to stay positive until I got that chance. Luckily enough, I got the chance, and we got the clean sheet and the win.”
Bruce – who will soon welcome back Florian Lejeune from long-term injury – has strength in depth at the back.
“It has been hard because we have a lot of centre-halves fit now,” said Clark. “We’ve not had that situation over the last couple of years. We have to keep training well – and wait for that chance. It was great to get out there and keep a clean sheet. To top it with the win was brilliant.
“Its all about staying in there. Sometimes it’s not just about how well you’re training, its about how well you do on the pitch in games. Hopefully, I’ve given the manager a tough decision.”
The win over Man United lifted Newcastle out of the relegation zone – and eased the pressure on Bruce.
Matty Longstaff scored the winning goal on what was his Premier League debut.
“I don’t think you can get a better debut,” said Clark.
“Coming in for his first game against a top-quality side like Man United, and to get his goal, was special enough, but his performance was so mature. He’s a fans’ favourite already. He did well with Sean (Longstaff) in the middle.
“Matty has deserved that chance – he’s been brilliant in training.”