By Wayne Veysey

28th Feb, 2020 | 8:22am

Exclusive: Newcastle hit by devastating blow to player hailed 'Exceptional' by Bruce

Newcastle United defender Ciaran Clark has been ruled out for the rest of this season with suspected ankle ligament damage, Football Insider understands.

The 30-year-old was given the devastating news after seeing a specialist about the damage he sustained in the comprehensive recent defeat to Arsenal.

A Newcastle source has told Football Insider that Clark has been told his season has been curtailed early following his collision with Bukayo Saka.

He left the Emirates Stadium on crutches and had been wearing a protective boot, but his hopes of returning before the end of the season have now been dashed.

Manager Steve Bruce is set to confirm the shattering blow to his team ahead of tomorrow’s Premier League home clash against Burnley.

His son Alex Bruce has told Football Insider how the defender has been one of Newcastle’s two outstanding players this season.

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“Someone like a Ciaran Clark has been exceptional,” Bruce said. “Come in the team, consistency levels have been brilliant, he’s been a real standout performer for me, watching him in the games I have seen.

“The goalkeeper as well, Dubravka, excellent keeper, done very well.”

Clark’s absence robs Newcastle of a player who had made 14 Premier League starts among 17 appearances this season.

He is the third Magpies defender to be struck by a long-term injury this campaign with Paul Dummett sidelined by a hamstring problem and loan signing Jetro Willems recovering from a ruptured cruciate ligament.

In other Newcastle United news, Kevin Phillips has exclusively told Football Insider why he’s blown away by “brilliant” Magpies-related reveal.