Villa centre back Ciaran Clark has snubbed the opportunity to play for England in the future in favour Republic of Ireland. The 21-year-old has appeared three times in the league this season, most recently replacing Richard Dunne early on against Chelsea. Clark has been tipped as a huge talent by the club and has led the Villa Youth and Reserves to success on numerous occasions. The London born defender has also impressed when called upon by the first team and was solid against the threat of the champions last weekend. Clark has previously represented England at youth level, even captaining the Under-18 side but has decided he may benefit more from a decision to link up with Trapattoni’s Ireland.
Villa team-mate Richard Dunne was the one who persuaded the player and the FAI to pursue the possibility. Dunne is clearly a big admirer of the up and coming defender and is hoping to link up with Clark at international level. The youngster’s first opportunity to represent his nation of choice could come as early as next month if the relevant paperwork is completed in time for a friendly, and possible encounter with fellow team-mate John Carew’s Norway. The reality of a possible call-up so early in his career will no doubt be a major factor in the decision to turn his back on his native England but in this case England’s loss is Ireland’s game as an undoubted talent slips through Capello’s fingers. The young prospect is eligible to play for ROI due to his mother’s side of the family and stated that family was a key reason in making his decision.
“Why have I chosen to play for Ireland? For myself and my family, my family have done a lot for me over the years, since I was a little boy. I owe them a lot so I’ve made this decision for them.”
“Richard Dunne (Villa and Ireland defender) mentioned it to Ireland and they looked into it and got in contact with me and the club. They gave me time to think about it and about my decision.”
“If all the paperwork has gone through by the next game, I’ll be in contention so fingers crossed that happens.”
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