Ex-Aston Villa man compares Ciaran Clark to former club stalwart

Former winger Steve Froggatt believes Ciaran Clark is like ex-England international Ugo Ehiogu in how he's battled back to save his Villa career.

Former Aston Villa winger Steve Froggatt has told AVTV that Ciaran Clark reminds him of old teammate Ugo Ehiogu in how he has managed to turn his fortunes at the club around.

Clark, 25, made 28 total appearances for Villa last season but a testing campaign saw him fall out of favour over the summer, as the since-departed Paul Lambert opted to bring in defensive reinforcements.

The Republic of Ireland international started this term as fourth-choice centre-back behind Ron Vlaar, new signing Philippe Senderos and Nathan Baker as a result, with the Birmingham Mail even reporting that he could be loaned out.

Injures to all three handed him a second chance in November, however, and the former trainee has since proven a revelation, starting all but two games and striking up a fantastic rapport with defensive partner Jores Okore.

For Froggatt, his resurgence is reminiscent of former defensive stalwart Ehiogu’s, who, after a difficult start to his Villa career, would go on to make over 300 total appearances for the club between 1992 and 2000, while earning a handful of England caps.

“Everybody in football loves a comeback story,” he said. “Clark’s got some, in my opinion, really unfair stick. I know he made mistakes but, as a youngster, we all make them.

“I’m thinking of a past player who I can remember being like that, Ugo Ehiogu. I remember Ugo’s debut, I think it was against Norwich, and he was Norwich’s best player because he gave the ball away so many times.

“Big Ron [Atkinson] pulled him out of the firing line but, once he came back, he was an amazing, big, powerful defender who went on to have a great career and play for England.

“Ciaran I think is of a similar mould, in that he’s gone through his bad time and has got his whole career in front of him.

“I really hope for the kid now that he goes on to have an outstanding Villa career because he’s gone through his bad time, shown great character and come through it.”

That said, one hopes Clark doesn’t end his Villa career like Ehiogu, who made the controversial switch to Premier League rivals Middlesbrough in October 2000 – a move which left a bad taste in the mouths of the supporters.

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