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Aston Villa defender ‘haunted’ by European mistake

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Republic of Ireland v Sweden - Group E: UEFA Euro 2016 Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Ciaran Clark played out of his skin for precisely 89 minutes and 59 seconds during the Republic of Ireland’s first match of this summer’s European Championship against Sweden.

But as we all know, one second can change a game.

Showing off a bit of naivety in positioning, Clark aggressively attacked a Ibrahimovic cross and ended up spearing the ball into his own goal with his forehead.

The ball was going in anyway, but Clark’s involvement makes it that much worse for the Aston Villa defender who is desperate to impress on the international stage.

Ciaran even admitted it himself, despite having the enigma of Zlatan Ibrahimovic locked down for the entirety of the game, that his mistake has haunted him.

“I found it hard to sleep after the game, I kept going over it in my head. The next day you have to wake up, try and put that to one side and focus on the next game. Which is what I have done.” - Clark speaking to the42.ie

The goal came as a result of Clark’s no-nonsense aggressive defending style, and I think I can speak for everyone when I say that we’d all rather Clark sticking to tearing up the turf and attacking the ball than backing off like some other defenders - even if it does result in unfortunate mistakes.

Ciaran Clark gears up to face Christian Benteke’s Belgium today at 2pm BST and will be looking to bury his mistake by helping the ROI qualify from a tremendously difficulty group that also includes Italy.