The in-form centre-back was always confident that he'd eventually be back in the line-up.
Clark, 25, was a regular starter for Villa last term but, after another relegation-threatened campaign, the since-departed Paul Lambert opted to seek defensive reinforcements in the summer transfer market.
With the subsequent signing of Philippe Senderos, the Republic of Ireland international found himself third in the pecking order behind the Swiss veteran, captain Ron Vlaar and Nathan Baker heading into the new season and linked with a loan move, per the Birmingham Mail.
Injuries to all three forced him into action alongside Jores Okore for November’s 1-1 home draw with Southampton, however, and the former trainee hasn’t looked back since, starting all but two games to establish himself as one of the team’s most reliable contributors.
It’s marked a remarkable resurgence for the potential Player of the Year candidate, who puts his upturn in fortunes down to nothing more than hard work and graft.
“I’ve always believed in myself and it’s all down to hard work really,” he said. “Every day in training I always came in and gave my all.
“I just kept doing the right things in training and eventually got my chance and was able to do alright. If I can keep my form up and keep performing then I’ll be happy.”
Clark’s own revival might have begun well before Sherwood’s appointment last month, but the defender acknowledges that the former Tottenham Hotspur manager’s arrival has given the entire club a huge lift heading into the final stretch of the season.
Villa now travel to Sunderland tomorrow off back-to-back wins over West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League and FA Cup, and belief is high that another set of three points are in store.
“I’m really enjoying it. All the lads really look forward to coming in and working every day,” Clark added on Sherwood’s start. “They’re going out there and putting there all into training.
“I think everyone’s going out there now without being afraid of making mistakes and just being positive, no matter where you are on the pitch.”