Euro 2020 qualifiers: Ciaran Clark considered leaving Newcastle to save Republic career

Ciaran Clark
Ciaran Clark has not played for the Republic of Ireland for more than a year

Republic of Ireland defender Ciaran Clark has admitted he considered leaving Newcastle United in the summer to keep alive his international career.

The 30-year-old has returned to the Magpies' first-team recently, scoring in Premier League wins over West Ham and Bournemouth.

However, his opportunities had been limited before Steve Bruce took over from Rafael Benitez as manager in July.

"Yes, definitely," Clark said when he asked if he thought about moving away.

""It was something I was thinking about in the summer. I didn't know what the situation would be at club level with the manager and I'd thought about that a lot.

"Steve came in late into pre-season and there wasn't much time then to do anything, really, I guess. Looking at it, he obviously wanted a chance to look at everyone that he had in the squad.

"I had a chat with him and I said that I'd love to be playing games because I've had a couple of years now where I'm in the team and out of the team, and it's a bit hit and miss.

Ciaran Clark
Clark joined Newcastle from Aston Villa in 2016

"He understood that and said we would see how the first part of the season goes and re-assess that come January.

"He was really fair with me and then it was down to me to just keep training hard, working hard and seeing what would happen."

Clark's form has won him a recall to the Republic of Ireland squad and he will start Thursday's friendly against New Zealand in Dublin, before Monday's final Euro 2020 qualifier against Denmark.

He has not played for his country since a 4-1 Nations League defeat in Wales last September, and is relishing the opportunity to try to impress manager Mick McCarthy.

"It's hard, but that's just football, you know?" he added. "If you're not playing games regularly, then it's hard to justify being picked.

"It's frustrating and disappointing, but it gives you that motivation to keep working hard day in, day out and trying to force your way back into it at club level to then to try to get into the squads."