Newcastle United defender Ciaran Clark has revealed he did indeed almost leave the club in the summer, but was persuaded to stay by Steve Bruce.
The 30-year-old had concerns about game time after making just 14 appearances in all competitions in 2018/19 under Rafa Benitez.
Clark was thinking about how his lack of minutes might affect his Republic of Ireland prospects, but has revealed a chat with Bruce convinced him to remain at St. James’ Park.
He said (BBC Sport): “It was something I was thinking about in the summer.
“Steve came in late into pre-season and there wasn’t much time then to do anything, really, I guess and looking at it, he obviously wanted a chance to look at everyone that he had in the squad.
“I had a chat with him and I said, ‘This season, I’d love to be playing games because I’ve had a couple of years now where I’m in the team and out of the team and it’s a bit hit and miss’.
“He understood that and said we would see how the first part of the season goes and re-assess that come January.
“He was really fair with me and then it was down to me to just keep training hard, working hard and seeing what would happen.”
In recent weeks Clark has come back into the Newcastle team, and scored in each of the victories over Bournemouth and West Ham United.
TBR’s view – Newcastle will need Clark
Clark says he and Bruce will re-assess the situation in January, but the manager will surely want to keep hold of him until the end of the season at least.
£35,000-a-week ace Clark (Spotrac) has proven he is still a capable Premier League defender in the last few weeks.
With Jamaal Lascelles sidelined until early 2020, there could well be more opportunities for him going forwards.