Former Leeds United prodigy Jack Clarke was backed to be one of English football’s up and coming prospects having made 25 appearances in the 2018/19 season as an 18-year-old.
However, three years on and the midfielder is struggling for game time whilst on loan at League One outfit Sunderland.
After his stellar 2018/19 campaign, Tottenham swooped in for the Englishman, paying around £10m to secure his services on a permanent basis, in what was dubbed a “bizarre” move by the player himself. However, he was loaned back to Leeds for the following campaign after Marcelo Bielsa’s side missed out on promotion.
However, that was the starting point for the youngster’s downfall.
Bielsa handed the then 19-year-old just one cameo appearance before Spurs recalled Clarke from Elland Road and sent him out to QPR, where he made six appearances from January until the end of the campaign.
Since joining the Black Cats, the 21-year-old’s fortunes have slightly improved, having appeared in all 11 of the league matches played since his arrival, in which the midfielder has scored his first senior goal since New Year’s Day 2019 as well as registering an assist for Alex Neil’s side.
However, from a results point of view, it’s been a mixed run for the Wearside club, who have won just three of those 11 matches, losing four.
This has seen Sunderland drop to sixth place in League One, with seventh-placed Sheffield Wednesday just a point behind and boasting a game in hand.
Leeds supporters would’ve certainly been gutted to see their brightest star leave the club in 2019, however, the Yorkshire club actually ended up receiving the better end of the bargain by some distance.
Having received £10m for Clarke, the Leeds hierarchy will be rubbing their hands together with the 21-year-old now valued at less than half that figure at £4.5m,
Moreover, whilst the midfielder has remained in the Football League, going from the Championship down to League One, the Whites have enjoyed promotion to the Premier League and two seasons in the top-flight.
An impressive ninth-placed finish last season has been followed up with a more difficult campaign, with popular manager Marcelo Bielsa being dismissed of his duties last month and being replaced by former RB Leipzig manager Jesse Marsch amid a relegation battle.
However, there is no doubt that Leeds’ fortunes have improved whilst Clarke’s have fallen, suggesting that maybe it was too early in the Englishman’s career to make a big move whilst the Yorkshire club certainly benefitted financially.