Are Ciaran Clark's recent comments a criticism of the situation at Aston Villa?

Aston Villa's Ciaran Clark

The Republic of Ireland international left Villa this week and has joined Rafa Benitez's Newcastle United revolution.

Ciaran Clark celebrates scoring the first goal for Aston VillaCiaran Clark celebrates scoring for Aston Villa

Aston Villa defender Ciaran Clark joined Newcastle United this week, and some of his comments after the move may well be a sly criticism of what has gone on at Villa Park in recent months.

The versatile defender has played over 150 matches for the Lions, but last season found him somewhat out of favour under all three managers that spent time at the club, leaving him with just 23 appearances to his name.

Villa changed their manager again this summer, bringing in former Chelsea and West Brom boss Roberto Di Matteo as they look to return to the Premier League after relegation, but the 26-year-old has decided he would rather take up that challenge at St James's Park.

"Newcastle is a massive club so I'm really happy to be here," Clark told the Magpies' website after completing his switch.

"Importantly, it is a club that is moving in the right direction and pushing for the right things, so I'm really excited to now be a part of that."

Everton's Kevin Mirallas and Aston Villa's Ciaran ClarkEverton's Kevin Mirallas and Aston Villa's Ciaran Clark

Though Newcastle have seldom been called a club on the up in recent years, it appears the character of Rafa Benitez has had a huge influence on both the players and the club itself, it is no surprise that people arriving see progression.

But it certainly seems like a sad end to Clark's Villa career if he was addressing Villa's last 12 months, after he has spent 16 years on the club's books. Villa supporters will feel betrayed by the Republic of Ireland international's decision to choose another giant club's attempts to return to the top flight over the exact same path at Villa.

Republic of Ireland's Ciaran Clark scores their first goalRepublic of Ireland's Ciaran Clark scores

On the flip side of that though, it is difficult to argue with the way in which Newcastle United have gone about their business this summer under a world class manager like Rafa Benitez. Making a lot of squad additions early in the transfer window and retaining a settled coaching setup would have certainly looked convincing for a player hoping to return to the Premier League as quickly as possible.

Only time will tell whether Clark was right to move to Tyneside.

Aston Villa's Ciaran Clark in action against Newcastle United's Papiss CisseAston Villa's Ciaran Clark in action against Newcastle United's Papiss Cisse

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