New Villa deal for Clark

Aston Villa have continued their busy summer of forward-planning by agreeing a new three-year contract with Ciaran Clark.

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The Republic of Ireland international defender, who had his first taste of first-team captaincy with the club last season, has signed a deal that will run until the summer of 2016.

With six new signings made and contract extensions also negotiated with Andi Weimann, Nathan Baker, Ashley Westwood and 2012-13 Player of the Year Brad Guzan, manager Paul Lambert is having a busy but fruitful close season.

“I couldn’t be more delighted or proud,” Clark told the club's official website. “I have been here since the age of 12, progressing from the younger teams through the youth team along with players such as Marc Albrighton, Barry Bannan, Nathan Baker and Andi Weimann.

“There’s a bond there with this club that’s as close as family to us lads especially. I have had the honour of captaining the team from youth level through to the first team.

“This season will be another tough challenge but we have the players and we have a good young squad. Everyone is hungry and we can’t wait to start.

“The competition for places is tougher than it has been these last few seasons, no doubt about that. The players who have come in have integrated into the squad really well, with the training camp in Germany helping immensely. There’s definitely a vibrant feeling within the camp.”

The versatile Clark has been deployed at full-back and in midfield since making his Premier League debut in 2009, but he has now settled into the heart of the Villa defence.