Ex-Sunderland striker hails Newcastle United defender as the perfect player in a Premier League battle

Darren Bent believes Newcastle United have got the perfect defender for a Premier League battle in their ranks – and he should know, having been his teammate at Aston Villa.

Thursday, 24th October 2019, 7:00 am
Updated Thursday, 24th October 2019, 7:05 am
BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - JANUARY 05: Ciaran Clark and Richard Dunne of Aston Villa tangle with Darren Bent of Sunderland during the Barclays Premier Leaue match between Birmingham City and Sunderland at Villa Park, on January 5, 2011 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Republic of Ireland defender Ciaran Clark was restored to the United starting XI just two games ago and has impressed with his no nonsense approach in the Magpies’ back three.

And Bent, who played with Clark at Villa Park, believes the defender will continue to put his head where it hurts and his body on the line for Newcastle.

Speaking to Football Insider, now retired Bent said: “The same Ciaran you are seeing there [for Newcastle] is the one we used to see in matches and training, where you’d hit shots and he’d block absolutely everything.

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“He’s actually a defender who likes to defend. That’s a funny thing to say as some defenders are good footballers yet they don’t want to put their body on the line, but he will.

“H’s been at Newcastle a while now and understands what it takes to play for that football club.

“If you are a striker they expect you to score, as they have had a long list of prolific strikers…and if you’re a defender, you’re expected to defend.

“They are passionate fans and won’t expect anything less than 100% – and Ciaran knows that.

“He will fight tooth and nail for that football club and as I said, he’ll take shots to the face, put his body in the way, he’ll just do anything to stop the ball going in the net.”