Aston Villa defender Ciaran Clark feels this season’s injury woes and relegation struggles have hardened the side’s young players, which is good for the future of the club
Villa will narrowly survive the drop this season after earning a 1-1 draw against Tottenham on the weekend, thanks to Clark’s deflected opening goal.
The 22-year-old has played for the Villa youth teams, along with a number of other players who were rushed into the first team, and he thinks they have done well in the pressure cooker that is the top flight.
The Republic of Ireland international said on the club’s official website: “I think everyone has been strong and shown a good attitude.
“The players have shown a good attitude and that’s shown especially getting the result against Tottenham.
“Hopefully the club can stronger from a season like this. Hopefully we can use this experience in the seasons to come and build on it and push forward.
“There are a load of exciting young players, (Marc) Albrighton, (Barry) Bannan and (Andreas) Weimann. We’ve all played together since 15-16 and all know what each other can do and we bond well together. It can only be good for the club.
“You have to grow up quickly in a relegation fight. It is all a big learning curve and experience for us and I think it can only be good for the club.
“This has been one of our toughest seasons but we can take that on and all of us can use it and hopefully help the club move forward.”
With senior players like Emile Heskey and Carlos Cuellar leaving at the end of the season, and Stiliyan Petrov out battling cancer, Villa’s young players will have to shoulder the burden next term too, whether under Alex McLeish or a new manager.