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Ciaran Clark determined to make mark with Republic of Ireland

Updated: Sunday, 23 Dec 2012 17:03 | Comments

Ciaran Clark has been made captain of Aston Villa in recent matches
Ciaran Clark has been made captain of Aston Villa in recent matches

Aston Villa central defender Ciaran Clark has reiterated his commitment and desire to play for Ireland.

Clark, who has skippered Villa in recent matches, started Ireland's friendly international with Greece last month.

He is still eligible to play for England whom he represented at under-17 and under-18 level, as he has not played in a competitive match for Giovanni Trappatoni's team.

But Clark is still determined to play for the country of the birth of his parents.

He said: "It was nice to get the game last time, a friendly. All I can do is keep trying to play well here at Villa and hopefully I'll be in the back of their minds with Ireland.

"Wes Hoolahan was in as well against Greece and a couple of other lads were picked as well. It does give the other players hope now they might get a chance in the up and coming fixtures.

"I was regular for England Under-17, Under-18s, at the start of my career, but it's moved on now.

"I know there are a couple of friendly internationals leading up to the World Cup qualifiers and I've got to see what happens with that.

"Would I go back to England? No chance of that, not at all."

Clark, 23, has relished being Villa captain in the absence of the injured Ron Vlaar and admits skippering several of the players at youth level has made the role easier.

He said: "At the start of the season I never imagined I would be captain now. When a new manager comes in, you just want to try to get a place in the team first and foremost.

"That was my only goal and I've managed to play a number of games which has been a massive bonus for me.

"I captained at reserve and youth-team levels. I am vocal on the pitch. I do like to bark the orders out. It is just passing on info really, getting everyone communicating.

"It is maybe easier to communicate with lads you've played with for a while. The older lads are a lot more experienced and know what they should be doing anyway."

Current first-team players such as Clark, Nathan Baker and Chris Herd all graduated through the academy ranks at Villa.

Clark said: "It is good because we've come through the youth team, even younger than that, right through since the under-18s and reserves.

"We've won youth team and reserve leagues so we are all good mates and all know each other's games really well so that can only be good."

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