Ciaran Clark has admitted leaving Newcastle in the summer was something he “thought about a lot” before Steve Bruce was appointed manager.
The defender, who joined Newcastle from Aston Villa in 2016, was forced to consider his future at St James’ Park due to fears over his place in the Republic of Ireland national team.
Why did Clark consider leaving Newcastle? Five things to know…
- Clark made just 14 appearances across all competitions under Rafael Benitez last season.
- Subsequently, he lost his place in the Republic of Ireland squad.
- The 30-year-old says he considered leaving Newcastle to save his international career.
- But Bruce’s arrival has seen his game time improve in recent weeks.
- And Clark is now back in the Republic of Ireland squad for the first time in over a year.
Over the last few weeks, Clark has played 90 minutes in five consecutive Premier League games, scoring in his last two outings in wins over West Ham United and Bournemouth.
Newcastle have lost just one of those games, a 1-0 defeat at Chelsea, and Clark has been central to their improved defensive performances.
Speaking to reporters, the centre-back explained how he may have departed Newcastle had Bruce not given him a chance.
“It was something I thought about in the summer,” Clark said. “I didn’t know what the situation was with the manager and I thought about it a lot, the manager came late into pre-season and there wasn’t much time to do anything.
“He wanted a chance to look at everyone in the squad, I had a chat with him, explained my situation and how I wanted to be playing games. I had a few years of being in and out of the team, it was hit and miss and I wanted to play football.
“He [Bruce] said to see how the first part of the season went and we’d assess it in January. He was fair with me, it was down to me to keep working hard and training and doing all I could to get back into the team and I’ve done that.
“It’s been a while since I was in the Ireland squad, I knew if I wasn’t playing games regularly I wouldn’t get a call.
“My aim was to get into the Newcastle team and stay there, if I did that I knew it would have a chance of getting me into the squad here, which I managed to do.”
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The Republic of Ireland will look to consolidate second place in Group D with positive results against New Zealand and Denmark in the coming days.
Clarke will then be back in club action when Newcastle travel to his former club Aston Villa when the Premier League resumes.