Aston Villa's Ciaran Clark hails 'beast' Micah Richards

Micah Richards

The 25-year-old is relishing the chance to play alongside his fellow defender.

After just over a week training together, Ciaran Clark has liked what he has seen from new arrival Micah Richards.

The 27-year-old defender joined Villa earlier this month on a free transfer from Manchester City as manager Tim Sherwood’s first new summer signing and has already made quite an impression on his claret and blue teammates.

Speaking to the club’s official website from their training camp in Portugal, Clark said: “Micah is a beast! He's a big presence. I am sure he will be a big player for us.

"He has given the place a lift. He has worked really hard in training since he's been here. He looks really hungry to do well here. He's been very impressive. He has knuckled down”

Richards, who has 13 England caps to his name, made almost 250 appearances across all competitions for boyhood club City following his first-team debut in October 2005, playing most of his games at right-back.

However, the Birmingham-born also has experience at centre-half and is believed to have been earmarked as a replacement for former skipper Ron Vlaar, who left the club this summer after turning down a contract extension.

That could mean a potential partnership in the heart of defence with the long-serving Clark – a prospect the Republic of Ireland international is relishing.

"When I heard the news that Micah had joined Villa, I was absolutely thrilled,” Clark told avfc.co.uk. “I can't wait to get out on the pitch and have the chance to play alongside him.

"He has done so much in the game already but he's still very young and has so much more to give.

"I am sure there will be games this pre-season where we will play alongside each other - and I am looking forward to that.”

Villa fans should be excited at the prospect of a potential centre-back partnership between the pair too, not just because of Richards’ England pedigree but also Clark’s impressive form last season.

The former trainee began the 2014-15 campaign as the club’s fourth choice centre-half but landed a spot in the line-up in November due to defensive injuries and went on to start all but two of the following 26 games.

Earning rave reviews in the process, he was being touted as one of the favourites for Villa’s player of the year award heading into the run-in but then saw his season cut cruelly short after suffering knee ligament damage in April’s 1-0 win at Tottenham Hotspur.

Nevertheless, he is now back fit at the start of pre-season and, with reports of a contract extension being in the works, should prove an integral part of Sherwood’s plans moving forward.

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