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Paul Lambert believes that England may have "missed a trick" by not working hard to secure the services of Republic of Ireland international Ciaran Clark

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert has said that defender Ciaran Clark can have a big future with Ireland, stating that England may have missed out on the promising youngster.

Former England under-21 captain Clark made his Republic of Ireland debut against Wales in 2011 after being coaxed into a switch by fellow Villa defender Richard Dunne. He won his third cap in November's friendly defeat to Greece, but an assured display alongside John O'Shea in the centre of defence pleased manager Giovanni Trapattoni.

Villa boss Paul Lambert watched him in action for Ireland, and having worked closely with him, believes that Clark has a big career ahead of him. "Ciaran has a massive future," Lambert told the Daily Mail, "and the more caps he can accumulate, then great. It's hard to say if England have missed a trick, or not. It wasn't until recently that I found out Gabby Agbonlahor qualifies for Scotland.

"England do have good centre halves. To have Ciaran is definitely Ireland's gain - there are not many left-footed centre-halves about, so that gives him a great advantage. I saw him play against Greece and I thought he did really well. It's there for him to go and do it and have a big career now for Ireland."

Giovanni Trapattoni is expected to be at Villa Park on Saturday afternoon to watch Clark in action against Stoke City.