This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Tottenham winger Jack Clarke started for Leeds United this week following his summer transfer to north London, that saw him loaned back to the Championship club for a season-long loan.
So far the 18-year-old has been an unused substitute in both of the Whites’ league games, while starting and playing for 70 minutes before being replaced by Alfie McCalmont in the Carabao Cup midweek.
Looking ahead, journalist Phil Hay believes that Clarke could struggle for game time, with Bielsa limited to five loan players in a matchday squad, and currently Leeds have six on their books, as suggested in The Athletic Leeds United Q&A (August 15).
So how big a concern will it be for Spurs, if Clarke’s game-time is limited at Leeds?
“I’d be a little bit worried if I were Pochettino.
“I imagine Spurs will have agreed to the loan back with the assumption that he will be playing at least semi-regularly for his former club.
“But at the moment he seems to be considerably down the pecking order out wide with Hernandez, Harrison and Costa seemingly Bielsa’s preferred picks.
“He is still very young and Bielsa knows his strengths, so I am sure he will be eased in at some point, but for the moment it will certainly be concerning Tottenham.”
“This will be disappointing for Tottenham as the reason he was loaned back was solely for game time, as although Bielsa could help him on the training ground – Pochettino will feel he is best suited himself to nurturing his talent.
“It is strange that Clarke isn’t getting more game time at Leeds. He showed frequently last season that his direct style is a big threat and tough for Championship defenders to deal with, but he isn’t getting a look-in.
“Some of that is partly due to Pablo Hernandez playing on the right, and he is the first name on the team sheet, but after fatigue troubled Leeds last season one would have thought that they would have rotated whenever possible.
“If Clarke doesn’t feature enough for Spurs’ liking then it could be possible that they recall him, which would be a disappointing way for his Leeds career to end.”
“Absolutely, the Tottenham officials are going to be watching developments at Elland Road very closely.
“They’ve just invested nearly £10m in Clarke, then trusted Leeds to aid his development for a year.
“Unfortunately for the player, he’s probably the fourth-choice winger at Bielsa’s disposal, which is going to concern Tottenham.
“Honestly, I could see the North London outfit calling him back in January.”