Marcelo Bielsa says Jack Clarke was improving in final days at Leeds United before Tottenham Hotspur recall

Marcelo Bielsa has thanked outgoing loan winger Jack Clarke for his contribution to Leeds United's season.

Saturday, 28th December 2019, 5:00 pm
Jack Clarke has returned to Spurs early (Pic: Getty)

Spurs have recalled their player after he played just 19 minutes of Championship football for Leeds on loan in the first half of this season.

Bielsa felt the 19-year-old was just making improvements, if not in competitive action then in training and for the Under 23s, when Tottenham made the decision to recall him.

“I am very grateful to Clarke,” said the Whites head coach.

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“He made his contribution in this part of the season. Even though I didn’t use him, in the last days, he had improved his performance.

"But just when this process was going on, Tottenham decided to ask Leeds for Clarke to go back."

Bielsa permitted Clarke to return early to his parent club because there was little point playing a player who would not be at Elland Road in January.

"I thought it was unnecessary to keep him [for the final games before the window opens] if we knew he was not going to be with us," said Bielsa, who went on to take some of the responsibility for Clarke not hitting the heights many tipped him for.

“I always try to ensure the players arrive fit to a match, the best version of themselves. Sometimes this process is not fast, it is slow and we don’t achieve to do it faster."

Clarke was bought from Leeds by Spurs in the summer and then immediately loaned back for the season. He is expected to go out on loan again in January.

The Whites meanwhile see Jordan Stevens as a natural successor to Clarke.