Darren Bent has tipped Newcastle United defender Ciaran Clark to step up and take the captain’s armband at St James’ Park after Jamaal Lascelles’ crushing injury blow.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, the former Aston Villa and England striker says that his old teammate is someone who whose first and only priority is to stop the ball ending up in the back of his net, lifting the lid on the 30-year-old’s dedication on the training pitch.
Newcastle confirmed that they had been dealt a hammer blow by losing centre-back and captain Lascelles until January, at the earliest, to a knee injury suffered versus Bournemouth.
#NUFC will be without captain Jamaal Lascelles until the New Year after he suffered a knee injury in the win over AFC Bournemouth.
Speedy recovery, @Lascelles16!
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) November 14, 2019
With Steve Bruce losing not only a first-team mainstay but his leader out on the pitch, Bent says that he would give the armband to Lascelles’ centre-back partner Clark, insisting he has all the qualities to fill the void.
Asked who could step up in Lascelles’ absence, Bent told Football Insider: “I’d give it to Ciaran Clark, or (Fabian) Schar. You need someone who’s going to be at the forefront all the time, putting their body on the line, screaming at people – I’ve played with Ciaran Clark before and I know he can do that.
“He’s a nice guy, off the pitch he’s a nice guy, really family-orientated and he was a good guy when I played with him, a young kid.
“He’s one person that I know throughout my career that loves to defend. When I talk about loves to defend, in training he’ll put his body on the line and you’re thinking: ‘Why are you flying into tackles, why are you flying in and blocking like that, it’s only training?’ but he just wants to keep the ball out of the net.”
Clark has played six times across all competitions for Newcastle this season, starting the last five Premier League games after sitting out the opening seven.
He has had an impact at both ends of the pitch, the Magpies shipping just five goals in his league appearances as well as seeing him score in the last two matches.
In other Newcastle United news, Danny Mills has had his say on behind-the-scenes talks at St James’ Park.