Jack Clarke has had a turbulent 12 months to say the least.
This time last year he was bursting onto the scene with some incredible performances for Leeds United, scoring against Aston Villa at the turn of the year.
His good form for the Whites earned him a £10m move to one of the biggest clubs in the country as Tottenham Hotspur acquired his services.
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He was immediately loaned back to the Yorkshire outfit, but for one reason or another, he’s completely fallen out of favour at Elland Road.
Indeed, the winger hasn’t played a single league minute this term for United and that doesn’t look like it’ll improve with Pablo Hernandez now back in the fold.
Leeds haven’t exactly missed the 18-year-old though as they’re still within touching distance of the top two, and with a decent run of fixtures coming up it may not be long until they’re in the automatic promotion spots.
However, having a player of Clarke’s talent and not utilising him seems like a massive waste. With chances still slim on the ground, the possibility of being recalled by Spurs seems incredibly likely. But do our writers think he should get another shot at Elland Road or is he destined to leave again in January?
“The old saying is, ‘if it’s not broken, don’t fix it,’ and that’s very much a mantra that should be applied at Leeds at the minute. They are unbeaten in four matches and they possess the accolade of being the division’s best defensive side having conceded just eight goals all season, per WhoScored.
“Everything may not be going to plan in attack with Patrick Bamford and Helder Costa, two possible underachievers, but they are still picking up results, so they must be doing something right.
“Calls for Jack Clarke to garner some game time seems a little reactionary to their inability to score hatfuls of goals, especially considering the 18-year-old only started four Championship matches last term with 20 others coming from the bench. Maybe that is where Marcelo Bielsa should start, instead of simply throwing him into the starting XI to merely please some sections of the Elland Road faithful.”
“Jack Clarke has been dealt something of a bad hand but one feels that Spurs made a mistake in sending him back to Elland Road.
“He didn’t exactly rack up starts last season either and they do say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
“Nevertheless, you have to feel sorry for the kid. He’s 18 and hasn’t played a single minute of league football this season. If he is going to grow and improve, Bielsa has to embed him into his squad and start utilising him, even if it as an impact sub.
“If he doesn’t, then Spurs are going to grow impatient and will surely recall him in January, leaving Leeds without a potentially valuable asset.
“It would be a win-win for the Leeds boss to bring him in and let him off the leash; what’s the worst that could happen?”
“To go from joining Tottenham, to not making a single appearance in the Championship this season, is quite some doing. But Jack Clarke has managed to do that – and arguably, through no fault of his own. The talented starlet was deemed good enough to be a signing for last season’s Champions League finalists, so surely there cannot be any questions surrounding his quality.
“In the 2018/2019 campaign, he averaged 0.8 shots and 0.7 key passes per game – impressive numbers when you remind yourself that he is just 18 and rarely started. With Leeds struggling to score goals this season – they have managed just 19 goals in 15 games in the Championship – Clarke could provide the bit of creative magic that Marcelo Bielsa’s side desperately needs.”
“Personally I think that Leeds should be keeping Clarke on the bench. Their wide areas don’t need any tinkering as Jack Harrison is hitting incredible form, assisting four goals in his last five league games, while Helder Costa was a £15m addition and Pablo Hernandez is a two-time Player of the Year winner.
“Marcelo Bielsa would only be playing Clarke for the sake of it, and that can’t happen when the Whites are knocking on the door of the Premier League.
“The Spurs loanee will either have to wait for injuries to hamper the players rivalling him in his position or just continue to warm the bench as there’s no reason for him to replace any of the aforementioned players just yet.”