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Sunderland v Rotherham United - Sky Bet Championship

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Roker Roundtable: How impressed have you been with Jack Clarke’s impact this season?

Since moving to Wearside on a permanent transfer during the summer, the former Leeds winger has made a hugely positive impression. What do our panel think of his contributions so far?

Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Kelvin Beattie says…

As an early doubter of this lad, I now hold my hands up and ask, ‘what the hell do I know?!?’.

His performance against Rotherham was not a one-off, because he has been getting better and better game upon game.

Will he ever be a very good wing-back? Who knows, but going forward, he is dangerous and always likely to produce something.

Whilst he can often find himself caught out of position, I do feel that he has improved defensively this season, and has also looked comfortable in making the step up to the Championship. In addition, he is a ton of fun to watch with the ball at his feet!

Prior to Wednesday’s game, some may have heard me grumbling about Clarke never taking his man on the outside and hitting the by-line to cross. Has he been listening? Maybe, because he did take the outside line on his defender a couple of times, before dragging the ball back to his left foot.

If you are reading, Jack, a bit of right footwork could bring even more reward!

I’m happy to hold my hands up on Clarke. I was wrong, and he has been great so far. Keep it up!

Sunderland v Rotherham United - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Kevin Barker says…

I’ve been banging the drum for Clarke since he signed, and I always felt he would be even better at this level.

When he first joined Sunderland, his ball retention and decision-making were sometimes found wanting. This season, however, he is getting stronger by the week. He has all of the attributes required to be a top player, and he is showing the doubters what he is about.

Going forward, he may need to improve his upper body strength in order to hold off more physical defenders, and then it’s just a matter of consistency.

I can’t wait to see him terrorise Middlesbrough’s defence on Monday night!

Sunderland v Norwich City - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Michael Driver/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Mark Roberts says…

After speaking to a few Rotherham fans, who usually don’t give anything away, ‘the second half was all Clarke’, according to them.

There were flashes of excellence from him last season, where his skill on the ball was easy to see, but they were often outweighed by his profligacy, his lack of end product and some poor decision-making.

As well as a better end product, there now seems to be some steel running through him. A good level of aggression, as well as a strong work rate, are key attributes for a winger/wing-back.

With a couple of goals, a trio of assists, and a pretty good showing each match, Clarke, for me, has really stepped up, both in division and in class!

Sunderland v Rotherham United - Sky Bet Championship - Stadium of Light Photo by Owen Humphreys/PA Images via Getty Images


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