Marcelo Bielsa gives Jack Clarke encouragement despite lack of Leeds United action

Marcelo Bielsa insists Leeds United loanee Jack Clarke is “improving” despite failing to feature in a single Championship fixture this season.

By Joe Urquhart
Wednesday, 6th November 2019, 5:00 pm
Updated Wednesday, 6th November 2019, 5:16 pm

The 18-year-old winger made the switch to Premier League outfit Tottenham Hotspur in the summer before returning to Elland Road immediately on a season-long loan deal.

Clarke made 24 appearances under Bielsa last term in his breakthrough campaign in West Yorkshire, bagging two goals and two assists for the Whites.

Spurs were alerted to his services after starring roles in victories over Aston Villa, Derby County and Sheffield United before illness hampered his involvement in the latter half of the campaign after a worrying collapse following his substitution at Middlesbrough in February.

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Leeds United winger Jack Clarke.

The Argentine, though, is yet to hand him any minutes in league action this term with the youngster restricted to just two League Cup appearances against Salford and Stoke City for the senior side.

Clarke has also been omitted from United’s bench on occasion due to loan restrictions imposed by the Football League which limits teams to having five loanees in a matchday squad.

He has been kept fit by United’s Under-23s side with trusted coach Carlos Corberan keeping a watchful eye over his development.

Bielsa insists that despite his lack of involvement so far the Thorp Arch academy product has talent that any manager would “pay attention” to.

“He is improving,” Bielsa stated.

“Clarke has a process that allows him to play in the first team. After he had a problem [he was] far for a long period.

“Now, step by step, he’s finding his level. When an attacker plays well, he immediately becomes a resource for the manager because it’s very difficult to play well when you are attacking.

“Clarke has the same options as Pablo [Hernandez], Helder [Costa] and [Jack] Harrison.

“When he’s powered to unbalance a match he’s better than one of his team-mates. He’s going to have space because all the managers pay attention, no manager would ignore his skill.”