Jack Clarke’s time in the Leeds senior team was an arduous one. From a moment of pure euphoria in the 2018/19 season to a hellish nightmare he couldn’t wait to escape, it’s been a difficult few years for the winger.
The youngster first broke through under Marcelo Bielsa during the Argentine’s first season at Elland Road. He caught the eye too, scoring against promotion hopefuls Aston Villa.
However, that was about as good as it got for the 20-year-old, someone who played 28 times for Leeds and scored on two occasions.
If that record tells you that he’s a £10m player, you’d find it hard to believe. Yet, with just a season of senior football under his belt, that’s the price Mauricio Pochettino paid to take him to Spurs.
Unfortunately, his career has taken a turn of the worse. Since arriving in north London, Clarke has played just three times and is now on loan at Stoke City.
That follows half a year where he was completely neglected by Leeds. Following his permanent transfer to Tottenham, he was loaned back to Elland Road.
Bielsa seemingly didn’t like his qualities, though, and he featured for only 19 minutes of their Championship-winning campaign. Clarke spent the majority of the term in their U23 side, where he cut a large pillar of frustration.
After being substituted against Stoke U23s, he refused to even shake the hand of the player replacing him. If anything summed up his attitude during that woeful loan spell, it was that.
Unfortunately for the Whites, they’ve now got a player in a similar situation – Crysencio Summerville.
Signed for a fraction over £1m last summer, the young Dutchman left regular first-team football behind for a big move – just as Clarke did when he signed for Spurs.
Yet, it has turned out much the same way. A man ready for senior action, he’s not played any since penning terms at Thorp Arch.
He hasn’t been in a single match day squad under Bielsa and despite his huge talent, he is being neglected.
It was something Dutch press picked up on towards the end of 2020. De Telegraaf (via Sport Witness), stated: “For Summerville there were opportunities as a winger, all the more because Feyenoord was not well occupied on the wings. But Summerville preferred to play for a Leeds United youth team. There he has not even played in the first team for a minute.”
It was a damning review for a player who like Clarke, is seeing his progression stalled significantly at Leeds.
There are positives in his performances for the academy side, but if anything, that just elevates why he needs to get a chance in Leeds’ first team.
Last week, he netted a fabulous hat-trick as the U23s dispatched Burnley 4-1. Summerville was the beating heart of that victory, showcasing dazzling dribbling skills and ferocious pace.
That kind of performance will come as no surprise to many, including Chris Powell. He worked alongside Summerville when he was Alan Pardew’s assistant at ADO Den Haag and had the following to say: “He’s quite a free spirit out on the wing, in a good way. He’ll excite you, he’s a bag of tricks, there’s some talent there, it’s just how it’s harnessed and what the coaches demand from him.”
Based on the two goals and three assists he registered in the Eredivisie last term, he’s certainly ready for a lot more first-team football.
Bielsa needs to unleash him before he really does mirror Clarke’s stay in Yorkshire.