IT IS an indication of how far Republic of Ireland international Ciaran Clark has come that when Gabby Agbonlahor was substituted, the Aston Villa captain's armband passed to the youngster.
The 23-year-old has been in dazzling form for Paul Lambert this season, which has seen Richard Dunne hit hard by injury, and will hope to continue that tonight against Norwich in the League Cup quarter-final at Carrow Road.
Clark admitted that receiving the skipper's armband during the Villans' goalless stalemate with Stoke City on Saturday was a proud moment.
"I've worn it for the youth team and the reserves so it was nice to wear it for the last few minutes of the game," he said.
"It was a brilliant feeling and it gives me a little confidence.
"But the result is the most important thing and we got a clean sheet and a draw so we'll build on that."
Clark looks set to team up with fellow academy graduate Chris Herd at the heart of the Villa defence again tonight.
Meanwhile, Lambert insists he has no interest in allowing out-of-favour keeper Shay Given to go out on loan.
Given has lost his first-team place to Brad Guzan. The former Republic of Ireland international, who still has over three years remaining on his contract, was recently linked with a loan move to Hull.
But Lambert is adamant he needs two quality keepers. "The fact Brad has got Shay breathing down his neck, I'm sure is driving him on," he said.