Date: 30th August 2009 at 8:37pm
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Martin O’Neill has praised debutant Ciaran Clark for putting in a classy performance as he covered the injured Curtis Davies today.

Fans have been raving about the ability of Clark for the last few years and his development seems to show no signs of slowing down leading Monny to tag him ‘a cool young customer.’

Speaking on the official site Mon was full of praise for the reserve skipper, and whilst he’s certainly done his chances no harm today if he’s bidding for our 4th place centre half, it could be too much of a push to consider him 3rd choice just yet though. If the rumoured signing of Dunne turns out to be true his experience could be paramount in Clark’s future development which isn’t all bad.

‘Ciaran did really fine. He took it all in his stride. I told him he was playing 15 minutes before I announced the team. He just looked round as if he expected it. Well done him.’

Clark’s first team opportunities have so far come in our recent Peace Cup success, and he did look like he had everything a player would need to make an outstanding centre half. It seems Monny feels those tests have stood him in good stead for any part he may play in our campaign this season:

‘I think he took a lot of confidence from pre-season and the Peace Cup. He did well over there and that was obviously in his mind.

‘He obviously felt because he’d coped with top European players in the game against Porto that he’d be fine. He felt if he could get off to good start, everything would take care of itself.’

I think Ciaran’s judgment on how he’d fair today was spot on.

Admittedly Fulham were poor and he wasn’t up against the likes of Rooney, Crouch, Torres etc, but as an excercise in finding his feet and growing his confidence, today was worth it’s weight in gold.

Big things are expected from this lad, and I’m yet to see a reason that would change that.

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