After the success of Dele Alli in 2015, many hoped that Jack Clarke would replicate the midfielder’s potential when he moved to North London.
However, after two years and three somewhat unsuccessful loan spells, the upcoming season could be influential for the England U20 starlet’s career at Tottenham Hotspur.
Clarke, 20, joined Spurs in July 2019 from Leeds United for £10m, becoming the club’s first signing in 18 months after impressive performances for Yorkshire club in the Championship.
The winger played 22 times in England’s second division throughout the 2018/19 campaign, scoring twice, but his all-around performances for Marcelo Bisela’s side persuaded the North London club to splash the cash for a future prospect.
Although two years into his time at the club, we’re still waiting to see if the youngster can rediscover his potential that was so highly touted in Leeds.
Since joining the club, Clarke has been loaned out to three Championship clubs, including immediately re-signing for Leeds United once he joined Spurs, but only made one appearance in the Championship before Spurs cut short his loan in January.
Despite two unsuccessful loan spells in the Championship, Jose Mourinho decided to keep the youngsters at the club for the first part of the 2020/20 season, making his debut for Spurs in the 3-0 victory against LASK in the Europa League group stage.
According to Football.London, Clarke impressed the Portuguese manager when he returned to the club and in training with his ability and fitness levels.
So, if one of the most successful managers in football can see potential in the 20-year-old, why are Spurs supporters so quick to judge him?
He spent the first half of the campaign learning alongside two world-class players in Harry Kane and Gareth Bale, and the latter had to follow a similar path to make his breakthrough at White Hart Lane.
At the age of 17, Bale joined Spurs from then Championship side Southampton, eventually becoming one of Tottenham’s greatest players in the Premier League era. However, it took him two or three seasons before he found anything close to exceptional form at the club.
The Welshman was close to leaving Spurs before discovering that unstoppable form, becoming an influential figure in North London, and the same patience may be needed for Clarke.
The 20-year-old spent the second half of the 2020/21 season at Stoke City and had a fairly successful time, featuring in 14 games as he grabbed two assists, but his performances were well-received by the Potters’ supporters.
Unfortunately, Clarke had his time at Stoke City cut short due to injury and suffered another setback in his Spurs career, just after showing little moments of rediscovering his form that persuaded Spurs to sign him.
So, what is the next step for Jack Clarke?
Without a manager currently at the helm for the Lilywhites, it’s difficult to say where Clarke should be next season, either staying at the club or spending another campaign on loan.
However, one thing that Clarke desperately needs at this moment in his career is to play week in, week out and to have a full campaign without suffering any setbacks.
Oliver Skipp is the perfect example of a season-long loan working perfectly for youngsters, and that needs to be highlighted to Clarke ahead of next season.
On the other hand, Clarke could have plenty of opportunities to feature for Spurs next season, especially after the club qualified for UEFA’s third-tier European competition, the Europa Conference League.
Also, he would continue to train alongside the likes of Kane and Heung-Min Son for another campaign, which was clearly beneficial to the teenager earlier this season.
Whatever the decision is made by the winger ahead of next season, one thing is for sure, Clarke will need a whole season without any injuries or setbacks, as his Spurs career is treading on a fine line, but the club shouldn’t give up on the 20-year-old just yet.
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