Andy Townsend claimed Newcastle United defender Ciaran Clark was capable of being outstanding on his day but often ended up making too many basic errors.
The Sky Sports pundit suggested that the centre-back struggled to stay focused during matches and often switched off which allowed players to get in behind him.
“Always felt it was concentration with Ciaran,” said Townsend while commentating on Newcastle’s 1-0 win v West Ham (Sky Sports Premier League, July 20th, 10:18am).
“He is a capable player, he switches off, just loses focus for a moment, and often you see defenders who have been like that get punished.
“He is one of them, he can be excellent, outstanding, then just too many basic errors at times and he allows players to get in behind him.”
Clark was on the fringes of the Magpies’ squad in the 2018/19 season as he made only 11 league appearances.
Townsend may be spot-on about Clark, as the defender is capable of being an asset to the Magpies. The only issue is that when he does seem to get a consistent run of games, his form drops off the charts. For example, last season Clark wowed when given the captain’s armband during the 1-0 victory over Burnley, as he was a rock at the back and grabbed the winning goal; but when he started the Magpies’ opening five league games, he didn’t look up to being good enough for the Premier League. The 29-year-old does have a tendency to switch off and allow an attacker to get the better of him, and when playing at the highest level he simply can’t do that. It’ll be interesting to see if Steve Bruce opts to utilise him more as you feel everyone will have a clean slate under the new Magpies boss, and it’ll be even more intriguing if he finally finds a way to deliver consistent performances.