Republic of Ireland footballer Ciaran Clark has had a brilliant start to his career at Newcastle. The Magpies have won seven and drawn one of the eight games Clark has played so far this season. His move from Aston Villa during the summer transfer window seemed akin to a man escaping from a sinking ship and at the time the London-born defender admitted that it "wasn't a hard decision" to leave after spending sixteen years of his career at Villa.
This admission resulted in Clark picking up a bit of stick from Villa fans.
@AVFC_News @avfcnewsgossip we didn't take it to hard either pal, Sunday league player
— Villan (@twinny_avfc) September 22, 2016
@AVFC_News and no Villa fan was sorry to see him go either
— John Harvey (@johndharvey90) September 22, 2016
Clark responded to that criticism in the best way possible, winning a man of the match award in Newcastle's 1-1 draw at Villa Park and clocking up some simply brilliant stats, as shown in the below tweet.
Man of the match, @NUFC's Ciaran Clark, against his former club (159 apps for Villa)
38 passes, 84% accuracy
14 clearances pic.twitter.com/6fxxUT6svl
— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) September 24, 2016
Clark's performances are massively encouraging ahead of the Republic of Ireland's World Cup qualifying games against Georgia and Moldova next week. He has been receiving praise from Newcastle fans after recent displays including a clean sheet in Saturday's win away to Rotherham.
These #AVFC tweets are hilarious! Remember when they laughed when we signed Ciaran Clark! outstanding for #nufc
— Kevin Nichol (@Kevin_Nichol) October 1, 2016
Almost forgotten in bedlam & euphoria after but Ciaran Clark's sliding tackle to deny Oliveira just before Gouff's goal proved vital #nufc
— Chris Waugh (@ChrisDHWaugh) September 28, 2016
Writing in 'The Chronicle', Newcastle journalist Mark Douglas described Clark as "a rock at the back" and acknowledged that while Clark's signing "raised eyebrows" he heads into the international break in "sublime form".
He has even been getting in and amongst the goals, netting a header against QPR in his side's 6-0 win there in September (1:30 in below).
(H/T: Brendan McGuinness)