Former Leeds United and Coventry City forward Noel Whelan has admitted that he is delighted with the way Jack Clarke has seemingly managed to turn his fortunes around this season after looking like he was destined to leave Tottenham.
Clarke experienced frustrating loan spells at Leeds and QPR last season after he struggled to regular first team football under his belt.
Given his struggles in the Championship last season, it did not seem particularly likely in the summer that the youngster would get an opportunity for the Tottenham first-team.
However, that is exactly what Jose Mourinho has done, handing the 20-year-old the chance to impress in the Europa League this campaign.
Clarke now seems to have established a rapport with the first-team squad at Spurs, as seen by his involvement in the indoor cricket match at Hotspur Way last week.
Whelan believes Mourinho made the right call by deciding against sending the winger out on another loan spell as playing with top players at Spurs would accelerate Clarke’s development.
The pundit told Football Insider: “We did worry. When he’s gone out on loan, when he came back to Leeds, he wasn’t playing, he didn’t look the same player.
“Then he went to QPR, probably even worse loan than it was at Leeds, then we didn’t know where he was going to be – was he gonna go back out on loan? No. I think they’ve given him an opportunity, they’re trying to progress him as a football player.
“They’ve given him the opportunity in the first team on Thursday and for once he’s taken it. I think he’s taken it, I think he’s taken it on board.
“I think it does make a difference when you’ve signed for a club and you do spend a bit of time there, rather than be loaned down straight away, you do feel more part of the furniture and part of the team and the squad.
It will bring the best out of him because he’s playing against better players week in, week out and learning the style of play that Jose Mourinho wants.
“Another great turnaround, Ndombele, you look at Jack Clarke – two players that looked certain for the exit door. Now, very much in the plans.”
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