FORMER Wales international Darcy Blake, who ended last season at Newport County AFC, has sparked a row after turning out for his local team in the amateur North Gwent League.

Blake, still only 25, is currently without a club after failing to agree terms with for a contract at County after impressing on a short-term deal at the end of the 2013/14 campaign.

Three years ago he was being hailed as the future of Wales’ defence after marking England star Wayne Rooney out of a crunch European Championship qualifier at Wembley Stadium.

But last weekend Blake was playing for Tredegar Arms FC when he agreed to help them out of an injury crisis and fired a hat-trick in their 6-3 win against Pantside FC.

It was a long way from those heady heights under Wales boss Gary Speed in 2011, and Blake’s goal-scoring performance has ruffled some feathers.

Pantside have complained to the North Gwent League about his appearance.

League official Geoff Phillips confirmed: “Pantside have asked us to investigate whether Darcy Blake was officially signed for Tredegar Arms.

“They have to put their complaint in writing and then we will investigate. That is the usual procedure.”

Blake has been helping the Gwent side during training and was persuaded to play due to a major injury crisis.

“Darcy has been taking training at the club and when they had an injury crisis he was persuaded to play,” said Dave Beynon, who started the club 23 years ago.

“When he was a kid Darcy was chucked in as a striker for Jubilee Thistle at the ages of nine, 10 and 11 -years-old. He is a natural footballer who can do the job.”

Blake was released by Premier League Crystal Palace in January this year and after his brief spell at Rodney Parade he had an unsuccessful trial at Plymouth Argyle.

“He’s keen to get back into professional football and is reasonably fit right now,” said Beynon. “Darcy is a free agent and with some full-time work at a club he could be a quality signing.”

Gwent valleys-born Blake, who attended Blackwood Comprehensive School, joined Cardiff City’s youth development programme at 10-years-old and made well over 100 first team appearances in total for the Bluebirds.

He also played for Wales at under-17, under-19, under-21 and senior levels, making his full debut against Switzerland in Basel in October 2010.