Newcastle United defender reveals reaction to squad omission

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Ciaran Clark has revealed his reaction to being left out of Newcastle United’s 25-man Premier League squad last season.

Clark lost his squad place in February after the club signed a number of players, including defenders Dan Burn and Matt Targett, in the January transfer window.

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And Clark, in the final year of his United contract, has reflected on his tough spell outside of United’s squad.

“I just tried to keep training as hard as possible and push myself every day,” said the former Republic of Ireland international. “That's all I could do, and then wish the lads all the best at the weekend.

"They did well in the second half of last season, but, for me, it was about training as hard as I could, knowing this year was time to kick on and get back involved again. (Playing again) is a good feeling. As a professional footballer, you want to be involved in games.

"I was aware of the circumstances at Newcastle, and what was going on. I spoke to the manager, and I was fine with that. I understood it, but it's great to be back involved again.”

Clark joined Newcastle, then managed by Rafa Benitez, from Aston Villa in the summer of 2016, and he helped the club win promotion to the Premier League.