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Noel Whelan delivers verdict on Jack Clarke after first minutes in the Championship v Luton
Jack Clarke finally got some minutes for Leeds United in the Championship on Saturday in the 2-1 win against Luton.
He replaced Tyler Roberts and put in a pragmatic performance for the final 25 minutes of the game.
He didn’t look sharp, but given he hasn’t played since the end of August in the EFL Cup win against Stoke, that wasn’t surprising.
Talking on BBC Radio Leeds following the game on Saturday, Noel Whelan praised Clarke for a “mature” performance.
“When he came on, you were up against a wall of Luton players and it was difficult to get any kind of space,” Whelan said, “but he showed maturity in keeping the ball, not giving the ball away, keeping the ball at the right time, especially at the end.
“We’ve gone 2-1 up, he had the opportunity to drive down into the corner, which he did, he didn’t try and do anything fancy, played it to his teammates and we then held onto it for another three or four passes.
“That shows a player that realises it’s about game management, not doing something tricky and for yourself down that wing.”
Whelan makes a good point. After the impact Clarke made last season, Leeds fans look to the youngster for exciting dribbles, but Clarke played an important part in the 2-1 win.
He didn’t give the ball away – he completed all of his eight passes and won both of his duels. [WyScout]
Last week we revealed that Marcelo Bielsa has big plans for Clarke in the second half of the season and he is hoping that Tottenham don’t recall him in January.
Given that, we do expect to see more of Clarke between now and the January transfer window opening.
Regular appearances off the bench could persuade Jose Mourinho that Clarke is best off staying at Leeds and playing with a team who will be fighting for promotion in a very competitive league.