Tuesday media watch [19.03.13]: Clark on Villa/Ireland
Sporting Life: Ciaran Clark has warned the Republic of Ireland will not be able to relax as they attempt to dent Sweden's World Cup qualification hopes. Giovanni Trapattoni's men head for the Friends Arena in Stockholm on Friday night knowing victory would put them in the driving seat to claim second place in Group C behind favourites Germany. By the same token, defeat four days before they entertain their other main rivals, Austria, at the Aviva Stadium would represent a massive blow to their own hopes.
RTE: Ciaran Clark has warned his Republic of Ireland team-mates they will not be able to relax for a second as they attempt to dent Sweden's hopes of World Cup qualification in Stockholm on Friday.
Irish Independent: Ciaran Clark was lambasted by Alan Hansen's tongue on 'Match of the Day' recently, but the 23-year-old has been backed to succeed by Richard Dunne. Clark - in contention for a starting place in Ireland's World Cup tie in Stockholm on Friday - is big, brave and bold enough to stick to his guns. And he is very much his own man.
Birmingham Mail: Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke has told of his healthy rivalry with West Bromwich Albion striker and fellow Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku. The young strike sensation has been on fine form for Aston Villa this season and equally as impressive has been the performance of Lukaku on-loan from Chelsea at West Brom. So far Benteke has edged his compatriot out of the national side.
Irish Times: It doesn't seem like so long ago that Ciaran Clark was viewed as an inexperienced but versatile squad player at Aston Villa. The promise was always apparent but opportunities to deliver on it were sometimes short-lived, with the duration of his spells in the team, often at left back or central midfield, depending on the seriousness of the injury suffered by someone higher in the manager's pecking order. Now, the London born defender is at the very heart of Villa's battle for Premier League survival and even he seems a little bemused at just how much things have changed.
Irish Examiner: Not too long ago he was known to most as a utility player; someone who could perform in a variety of positions, from wing-back to midfield, when required, but never a constant fixture in one spot. Now though, with an element of fortune and because of Richard Dunne's continuing battle with injury, he has been thrust into starting positions for both club and country. At Aston Villa, despite only being 23, Clark has, in the blink of an eye, become a senior member of their youthful squad. For Ireland, with Sean St Ledger out injured up until very recently, he has partnered John O'Shea at centre-half. Under the circumstances, he has matured rapidly and developed into one of Paul Lambert's go-to-guys.
Daily Telegraph: Alan Hutton will come face-to-face with former Tottenham Hotspur team-mate Gareth Bale when Scotland host Wales at Hampden on Friday evening but there is no hint of trepidation from the older man when it comes to the prospect of facing Britain's most impressive footballer. Hutton, after all, can claim to have shackled Cristiano Ronaldo in his own back yard. On Saturday evening, the 28-year-old, on loan to Real Mallorca from Aston Villa, was in direct opposition to the Portuguese at the Bernabeu and managed to keep him quiet.
Birmingham Mail: Paul Lambert has warned Villa must guard against complacency during the survival run-in after giving themselves a fighting chance of staying in the Premier League. Lambert has told his players to keep their composure when their top-flight survival mission resumes against Liverpool at Villa Park on March 31.
Birmingham Mail: Paul Lambert admits Villa's close links with Acorns puts their relegation battle into perspective after capping a charity day in honour of the hospices with a win. A series of events to raise money and awareness for Acorns was held alongside Saturday's 3-2 victory over QPR at Villa Park. Lambert is delighted the club offer so much support for Acorns.
The Sun: Andi Weimann has been urged to sign a new deal at Aston Villa. The striker, 21, has scored eleven goals this season. Ron Vlaar said: "It's very important he stays with us."
ESPN: Ron Vlaar has spelled out the importance of Aston Villa hanging on to Andreas Weimann well beyond the resolution to this season's tense Premier League survival battle.
Goal.com: Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert has praised the work ethic of forward Andreas Weimann, joking that he "must have another lung" after his match-winning display against QPR on Saturday. The 21-year-old scored in the first half of the 3-2 victory against Harry Redknapp's relegation-threatened outfit at Villa Park before setting up the winner for Christian Benteke late on.
*The extracts on this page are taken from various newspapers and media outlets. They do not necessarily reflect the views of Aston Villa.