Leeds United Academy graduate Jack Clarke has long been highly rated at the club and under manager Marcelo Bielsa he’s certainly getting the opportunity to show what he’s capable of as he’s made ten substitute appearances for the gaffer so far in the 2018/19 campaign.
The 18-year-old has also contributed one goal, he found the back of the net in our 3-2 fightback against Aston Villa the other week.
With the youngster still waiting for his full starting debut though, former player Noel Whelan believes that Bielsa is maybe waiting to see more improvements on a defensive front from him before he’s given a place in the full lineup.
Speaking to the BBC (29/12) following the defeat to Hull City in our last match, Whelan said of the youngster.
“I’ve not seen enough of him defensively. I know what he can do going forward. The way we start games, we need people who are going to be really at it, defensively track back, do the job, be disciplined. I’ve not seen too much of that side of Jack Clarke. I know he goes forward, I know he’s very exciting, he can go past a player with ease and he creates chances and can score himself. We’ve seen that. But the only way to find out I guess, whether he can do that defensive job as well is to start him.”
It’s a fair point and it’s understandable as to how he’s come to that conclusion because Bielsa might be waiting for more improvements in his game on that front. Equally, it could just be that he’s proving himself useful as a substitute so there continues to be that element of unknown super sub to him – as well as a sense of protecting him.
Given his talents and there’s plenty of improvements left for him to do, being involved will get him there so it is win, win for us regardless in many ways.
When Bielsa thinks the time is right, I have no doubts he’ll be thrown in – some games he’ll swim, others he’ll sink, but that’s part of the process.