Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa neglecting Jack Clarke last Saturday was damning

This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more… 

Marcelo Bielsa made an eye-brow raising substitution for the second match in a row on Saturday.

Against West Brom the decision to withdraw Tyler Roberts after initially bringing him on caused a debate among supporters but this time it was Helder Costa being taken off that was surprising.

The Portuguese was the man sacrificed at half-time at The Den with the Whites down to ten men and on in his place came Barry Douglas.

The left-back was mercilessly ripped into by supporters after the match, something that was indicative of just how strange the sub was.

Leeds needed to fight back but replaced an attacking individual with a defensive one.

On the chalkboard

Among some of the chaos that ensued against Millwall there was another narrative continuing and that falls at the feet of Jack Clarke.

The teenager has recently returned to the 18-man matchday squad since Pablo Hernandez was injured but he still hasn’t been utilised.

He joined Tottenham for £10m in the summer before returning on loan but he’s been reduced to appearances in the Carabao Cup, failing to get an opportunity in the Championship this term.

Clarke’s season hasn’t exactly gone as planned but the continued neglect of him last Saturday was rather damning.

It perhaps showed that Bielsa doesn’t trust him and that was evident in the fact he preferred to move Gjanni Alioski to left-wing rather than have the youngster replace Costa.

Alioski and Jack Harrison ultimately combined for the goal but to ignore Clarke in this situation said a lot.

At 2-0 down, Leeds needed attacking bodies, even if they were a man light because of Gaetano Berardi’s red card.

Is Jack Clarke's loan spell pointless?

Yes

Yes

No

No

In this situation, Clarke could have been the man to call on. After all, the Whites don’t particularly have too many attacking options at present.

Besides the England youth international, only Eddie Nketiah and Roberts were those who could come on and offer a goal threat.

This was the perfect platform to introduce Clarke and get him up to speed. Instead, Bielsa ignored him again as he has done for the vast majority of 2019/20.

If the 18-year-old can’t get in the side even when Leeds have injury problems then it sends a big statement about where he is in the pecking order.

Article title: Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa neglecting Jack Clarke last Saturday was damning

Please leave feedback to help us improve the site: