In terms of players coming through the ranks in recent years they seem to come in the same positions. Central midfield and full-backs not in short supply but wingers very much so. I’m so confident that Jack Clarke will make the grade at Leeds United based on what I’ve seen and hopefully today will give him the taste needed.

Marcelo Bielsa has always stated that he won’t throw young players in for the sake of it and today he had very little option. There wasn’t many flare players on the bench, and certainly nobody with pace to go at players in wide areas. Jack Harrison had been completely shut-out by the Brentford left-back who had him in his pocket but that was to change with Jack Clarke’s first touch. In fact Jack Clarke, within ten minutes had forced Dean Smith to substitute the left-back because Clarke was going to force him into a red card before long.

Jack Clarke (47) of Leeds United during the Pre-Season Friendly match between Oxford United and Leeds United at the Kassam Stadium, Oxford, England on 24 July 2018. Picture by Graham Hunt.

17-year-old Clarke is the gem in the academy for me, a player who has so much potential and potential that’s we’re ready to start seeing. He didn’t look out of place today and although he didn’t light Elland Road up he made his impact and made things happen. The subs did help Leeds gain more control today and Clarke and Baker did add some impetus going forward. A few good runs, passes and dribbles was all that was needed for the fans to see Jack Clarke wouldn’t be overawed by the occasion.

During pre-season Clarke impressed as much as anyone in the second XI and for me probably the most, along with Mateusz Klich. Goals and assists arrived as did very good and assured performances and it’s only a matter of time before he gets a chance to really impress at first-team level. He wasn’t slightly intimidated today and hopefully he’s sown Bielsa that he’s ready for more.


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