Aston Villa defender Clark puzzled by Republic of Ireland omission

The young centre-back admits to being baffled at his lack of inclusion on the international scene, despite being a regular performer at Premier League level
Aston Villa centre-back Ciaran Clark has admitted he can't understand Giovanni Trapattoni's decision to leave him out of the Republic of Ireland squad.

The 22-year-old made his international debut for the Boys in Green in February 2011, but has since made just one other appearance for the national side.

While Clark has found himself to be a regular in Paul Lambert's Villa side this season, forcing his way into the plans of Trapattoni is proving difficult.
6/1 Republic of Ireland are 6/1 with William Hill to win their 2014 World Cup qualifying group

"I have to be honest and say I have no idea what is happening for me with Ireland because the manager and his staff seemed very keen to get me on board at the start and now nothing seems to be happening for me," Clark told ESPN.

"I have not spoken to the manager or any of his staff about what I need to do to catch their eye or anything like that, so all I can do is continue to work hard at Villa and hopefully the situation improves for me with Ireland.

"There are not too many Irish centre-backs playing in the Premier League at the moment, so you would think that would stand me in good stead, but the manager is picking other people at the moment and I have no idea what I need to do to get back in."

The young defender maintains, however, that all he can do is work hard and wait for his opportunity to come along, insisting he has a chance of making the squad should the Republic qualify for World Cup 2014 in Brazil.

"I have to believe my chance will come if I continue to work hard with Villa," he continued.

"With some of the more experienced players calling time on their international careers and a few new lads getting chances, it gives me hope that I could get in the mix if we qualify for the World Cup finals in a couple of years' time. That's the ultimate dream for anyone."