'I need to be playing regularly to catch the eye of Giovanni Trapattoni' - Aston Villa defender Ciaran Clark

The Aston Villa centre back has said that he is taking the positives out of his non-inclusion in recent Irish squads, stressing his preference to play at centre back
Aston Villa defender Ciaran Clark has admitted that he needs to be playing 'week in, week out' in order to merit an inclusion in Giovanni Trapattoni's Republic of Ireland team.

The 23-year-old has played in all six of Villa's Premier League games this season, but has not been included in an Irish squad since the friendly with Uruguay in September 2011, while his injured Aston Villa team mate Richard Dunne has been named on the standby list for the upcoming qualifiers against Germany and Faroe Islands.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, however, Clark insisted that he was remaining positive about his non-inclusion.

"I had to take it as a positive that [Trapattoni] called me before (Euro 2012 in) Poland," he said. "I was disappointed to miss out, but it showed I was in his thoughts. All I can do now is keep my head down."

He continued: "I need to be playing week in, week out to catch the eye of the Irish staff. So if I keep working hard then maybe I might be able to be in the squad for a couple of the qualifying games. That would be absolutely brilliant for me."

Since the arrival of Paul Lambert at Villa Park, Clark has been given the opportunity to play at centre back, after a season playing in midfield and at left back, and he is hoping that Trapattoni will give him a similar opportunity as he seeks to add to his two caps.

"I've been a centre-half all the way up at Villa," said the defender. "I was playing left-back at the time (of the Ireland call-ups) and I was just happy to be in and around the team.

"But I've always wanted to get a run in this position so perhaps they'll be able to look at me there," concluded Clark.

Meanwhile, Clark also praised the influence of Richard Dunne on his own development as a defender. Speaking to the Birmingham Mail, Clark said: "Dunne is brilliant. He’s been there quite a while and I’ve learned so much from him. I’m hoping I can keep learning from him."