Welsh full-back, Mitchell Clark was omitted from Robert Page’s Wales U21 squad. Clark is currently on loan at Port Vale from Aston Villa and playing regularly for the League Two club.
In an exclusive interview with Behind the Goal, Clark speaks about his current career with Port Vale and his dissatisfaction with not being included in any Wales U21 squad.
19-year-old Clark played 90 minutes at right-back on Saturday in a 1-1 home draw with Exeter, a game that Rob Page watched from the stands.
“The game against Exeter on Saturday was one of my better matches this season. It’s my first loan from Villa and I think I’ve been performing very well,” explained Clark.
“I knew after the game that Rob Page was there, but I had no contact with him at the game or after it.
Clearly frustrated by the lack of chances, “I haven’t been picked for the U21’s again, so it’s obvious the manager doesn’t fancy me and I’m not in his [Page’s] plans.”
Rob Page named 3 full-backs in his 19-man squad to face Romania and Switzerland, including Rhys Norrington-Davies, 19 (Sheff Utd), Cameron Coxe, 19 (Cardiff) and Aaron Lewis, 20 (Swansea) – none of which are playing senior football at the moment.
“I’ve got Cameron Coxe, who is suspended [for the first match against Romania] and Aaron Lewis at Swansea, who is playing really well,” said Page.
“Clark is still a young one and he’s still developing. He can play at full-back on both sides and we’ve good competition in those areas.
“He will get his opportunity but it might be with the U19’s to start with.”
Clark was left confused by Page’s decision because he has already played 8 times for Wales U19’s between 2016-2017. He was named in the 2017 squad for the Toulon Tournament, but withdrew, along with David Brooks and Rhys Norrington-Davies.
He last played for Wales U19’s in the Euro Qualifier against Turkey, where Paul Bodin was in charge. He also captained Wales U19’s last year and really wants to kick on for the U21’s.
“I was very surprised to not be named, but I’m not disappointed because it gives me more of a chance to concentrate on club football with Port Vale now.”
When asked about his aspirations to play for the senior squad: “I played with some of the lads who are in the senior squad – Ethan Ampadu, Tyler Roberts and those boys.
“They’ve obviously gone above and made the step up, so the pathway and the chances are there for the players.”
Clark has played 9 times in Port Vale’s 11 league matches this season, who are positioned in sixteenth place in League Two. Port Vale will play Grimsby Town away on Saturday 6th October.
He has a year left on his current deal with Aston Villa, with a 12-month extension option.
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