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Ciaran Clark signs three-year Aston Villa deal

Updated: Thursday, 18 Jul 2013 15:29 | Comments

Ciaran Clark has signed a deal that will keep him at Aston Villa until 2016
Ciaran Clark has signed a deal that will keep him at Aston Villa until 2016

Republic of Ireland defender Ciaran Clark has signed a three-year deal with Aston Villa, which will keep him at the club until 2016.

Clark, a Villa Academy product, has played 75 times for the club and scored six times.

Having captained all Villa's youth sides, Clark also wore the armband for the senior side for the first time last term when Gabriel Agbonlahor was substituted against Stoke City.

The Irishman's deal comes following six signings by Villa manager Paul Lambert with defenders Jores Okore and Antonio Luna, midfield players Leandro Bacuna and Aleksander Tonev, striker Nicklas Helenius, and goalkeeper Jed Steer, all joining the club.

In addition, Clark's colleagues Brad Guzan, Andi Weimann, Nathan Baker and Ashley Westwood have all signed new deals at the club.

Six-cap Ireland international Clark said: "Everyone's at the stage now where where we just want to get out and play and the competition for places is tougher than it's been these past few seasons, no doubt about that.

""The players who have come in have integrated into the squad really well with the training camp in Germany helping immensely in terms of bonding and getting down to work.

"Everyone's really keen to really get on with it now. We're looking forward to giving our all and fighting for our spot in the team. There's definitely a vibrant feeling within the camp and a real desire to push on and keep building.

"We feel like we have very strong foundations in place. The last couple of seasons we've had some ups and downs and we've always stuck together and supported one another, whatever's happened. We'll continue to do that and that's what will continue to help us to progress together as a team.

"The manager has also been superb in instilling confidence and ambition, a real desire to succeed for the club and we're all hungry to achieve something here.

"From a personal point of view, I really couldn't be more delighted or more proud. I've been here since I was 12-years-old, progressing from the younger teams through the youth team along with players such as Marc Albrighton, Barry Bannan and another couple who have just signed new deals in Nathan Baker and Andi Weimann.

"It's great that we've all managed to come through together and there's a bond there with this club that's as close as family to us lads especially."

"From a personal point of view, I really couldn't be more delighted or more proud. I've been here [at Aston Villa] since I was 12-years-old" - Ciaran Clark

Clark went on to speak in glowing terms about Villa and the growth opportunities he has been given at the club.

"From a young age, Villa has had a deep impact on my life and I've been taught proper values here by the people such as Bryan Jones, Kevin MacDonald, Gordon Cowans, Tony McAndrew, Steve Burns and so many others who have been involved in the Academy set-up," said Clark. 

"We're taught well here, we're taught the right way, the attitude is top drawer and all the lads have taken that into the first team or to whatever other club or whatever walk of life they've chosen.

"We've been taught to work hard, to give our all always and to demonstrate the right morals in terms of politeness and the way we behave on and off the field, all of which is really important.

"It's what every young lad dreams about, to be able to play for a club like Aston Villa. I've had the honour of captaining the team from youth level right through to the first team and to receive that honour last season was massive for me, a moment I'll never forget.

"This season will be another tough challenge but we have the players and we have a good young squad, everyone is hungry for it, we're working as hard as we can and we can't wait to start."

Clark and Villa open their 2013/14 Premier League campaign against Arsenal on Saturday 17 August at Emirates Stadium; however, prior to that they will face Shamrock Rovers at Tallaght Stadium on Sunday 4 August.

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