Villa starlet signs on

Youngster pens new deal

Clark: New deal

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Aston Villa have handed a new long-term contract to central defender Ciaran Clark.

The 20-year-old, who was handed his Premier League debut earlier this term, has penned a two-and-half-year deal - tying him to the club until 2012.

And Clark admitted he was delighted to have committed his future to Villa.

"When you are training with defenders like Richard Dunne and Carlos Cuellar, it is a massive help," he said.

"They really encourage you and, if you make mistakes, they keep your head up.

"If there is stuff they can help you with, they'll do that, and that helps you as a person and as a player.

"I've been with Villa since I was 12. It was great to make my Premier League debut and I hope I can push on and do well for Villa.

"I'm grateful and thankful for the new contract and now I'm going to knuckle down and work hard."

Villa manager Martin O'Neill added: "Ciaran is a great character. I've said this about a couple of young players here, but if there's anybody you'd like to see make the grade it's Ciaran.

"He's very good and he's a cool young customer."