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Clark hopes Trapattoni will remember his name now

CIARAN CLARK is one of those names that causes problems for the Ireland manager when it comes to tongue-twisters - but the Aston Villa man is confident that his name is now one that Giovanni Trapattoni will remember.

Pronunciation is not Trapattoni's strongest suit at the best of times, with words and phrases mangled all the time, but Irish names cause the Ireland boss difficulties along the way, which is why he has spoken of players like Shivens (Shay Given), Ledger (Sean St Ledger), Kee-yuck (Andy Keogh), Fackey (Keith Fahey) and, in the build-up to the Greece game he had a new one, where the first name of the Aston Villa defender Clark came out as something like 'Sharon'.

But Clark looked assured during last night's 1-0 defeat by Greece - more assured at times than the 84-times-capped John O'Shea - and his intention is to make sure that his name is not forgotten. Clark said: "I'm so happy that I managed to get a start last night, hopefully there are more to come.

"It would have been a lot better if we had finished the game with a win but on a personal level it was just good to get a start for Ireland," continued Clark, winning only his third senior cap. "It was great to play in defence alongside John O'Shea. He has a lot of experience at international and Premier League level, he's been in the Ireland side for years now and I can only learn and improve from playing with lads like John.

"I hope to take things from their game and adapt it to the way I play.

"John talked me through the game and he was a massive help to me. The more I play and train with these players the more I will learn.

"I think the season has gone well for me with the club. I am playing week in week out now and that can only help me in terms of Ireland and pushing myself further into contention. If I can keep doing well for Villa and playing games I can put my name into the manager's mind," he added.

"We started the game well, we put Greece under pressure early on and should have had a penalty in the first few minutes but it didn't go our way. Getting a penalty and a goal would have made things easier for us and maybe eased confidence.

"We managed to put them under pressure in the second half too, we put a lot of balls into their box and on another day we could have scored two or three goals, but we couldn't find the back of the net.

"The Greek goal was maybe a bit sloppy from us. Their player was given a lot of time on the edge of the box and we could have defended better, hopefully we will learn from that," said Clark.

"We can take confidence from the game overall. They had only two real scoring chances and scored once, but they didn't create much apart from that so it has to be a positive for us."