Clark follows Baker in penning new Villa deal

Aston Villa have moved to tie down another central defender, handing a five-year deal to Ciaran Clark.

Ciaran Clark has followed the lead of fellow central defender Nathan Baker by signing a new long-term contract with Aston Villa.

Baker put pen to paper on a deal until 2019 last week and Clark has agreed fresh terms to cover five more years.

Now 25, Clark is a product of Villa's youth system and has been a regular first-team fixture in recent seasons.

The Republic of Ireland international started 22 Premier League matches last term before suffering a season-ending knee injury at Tottenham in April.

With Ron Vlaar's Villa contract having expired, Clark will now seek to play a leading role under Tim Sherwood.

Villa's manager said: "It's great news. You know what you're going to get from Ciaran - he gives everything for the cause and that's all you can ask for as a manager.

"He was unfortunate with injuries last season but he looks sharp now and we want to keep him fit. We're pleased to have him here for a longer time."

Clark added: "I'm absolutely thrilled to sign a new contract.

"Everyone is looking forward to the new season and I'm delighted to be going into the opening game on Saturday knowing my long-term future has been sorted."

Villa open the campaign against Premier League new boys Bournemouth on Saturday.