So, Jack Clarke - is he any good?
The Bear Pit TV: Clarke was a decent addition at Stoke in the games that he played. He looked to be a creative winger always looking to get crosses into the box for the strikers to score. He’s an unselfish footballer - certainly not an out and out goal scoring winger, but he’ll certainly get you a few assists, particularly in League One.
What do you remember about how he was hyped when he came in?
The Bear Pit TV: All I can remember from when he came in was that he was touted to have a great future in the game when at Leeds United. His move to Spurs has hindered that progress, for sure, so we weren’t too sure if we were getting a washed up player who’s had his chance or somebody who had a point to prove. But he certainly did come with a point to prove and put in good performances for Stoke in a difficult second half of the season.
What were your first impressions of Jack like when he arrived at Stoke?
The Bear Pit TV: I liked Jack personally. I knew he had a good year or so at Leeds in the Championship before arriving at Stoke, I thought if he could display the same quality he showed in that brief spell at Leeds, then we’d get the creativity back which we were missing from Tyrese Campbell after his season was cut short due to an ACL injury.
He played 14 games after arriving last January - why didn’t he play more?
The Bear Pit TV: Quite simply, injury. Jack’s loan was cut short at Stoke after an injury to his achilles ended his season prematurely. He would’ve seen out the rest of that season had he not had the injury. But in that season we had an injury crisis where we would have to pick the team depending on who we had left in the squad. So sometimes he missed out depending on who was and wasn’t available at the time, and from the players we had and it may not have been the best use to play with a winger in certain games, given the numbers.
Would you have been in favour of re-signing him?
The Bear Pit TV: I personally would’ve been in favour of re-signing him. The reason I don’t think we have is because our manager, Michael O’Neill, has moved to a back three with Josh Tymon and Tommy Smith as wing-backs. I don’t think Jack would’ve fit into that system; he is a winger and could probably do a good job in the number 10 role, but that role is currently taken up by Nick Powell, who is Stoke’s talisman.
Obviously, he cost Spurs a lot of money. Do you think he still has a future there, or is Championship/League One more his level?
The Bear Pit TV: He’s definitely Championship standard at this moment in time. He’s still got time to develop at the age of 21, and could break into a Premier League team in the future, but it’s a great signing for a League One club to be able to get him. In his loan move at Stoke there was nothing to really suggest he could challenge for a place in the Spurs team, but he is competing with Son for a place in that side so it’s going to be difficult for any player to break into that team.
We’ve got quite a few wingers. Do you reckon he’s the type of player that will make a real difference to a promotion chasing League One squad?
The Bear Pit TV: I don’t think he’d be able to make that difference at a Championship club, but for a League One side he certainly has the potential to do that. At Stoke he didn’t really make a huge difference to our season but came in to fill a position left by injuries we had that season. In a League One side he certainly would, as in my opinion he’s too good for that division.
What are his biggest strengths and weaknesses as a player, and what’s his best position?
The Bear Pit TV: His best position is definitely as a left winger as he loves to cut inside to get shots off, or put the ball back onto his right foot for crosses to come in, as well as wanting to take on his marker. The one weakness I seem to remember him having was his decision making wasn’t always the best, but that’s probably due to lack of experience and still being a young player.
What would you say to any Sunderland fans reading this who aren’t sure of what to make of this signing?
The Bear Pit TV: The main thing I’d say is he’s a very good signing for this level and in my opinion will certainly make an impact to a team chasing promotion to the Championship. He’s got all the qualities to be a very good winger for this team now and also in the future at a club in a higher division, he just needs more first team minutes in order to progress in his development.