Manchester City’s Jack Harrison came on loan to Leeds United in the summer transfer window, with the plaudits of various football legends still ringing in his ears after a previous stint at New York’s Manhattan FC. He was rated the second best player under 24 in the MLS and has earned recognition at U21 level with England. So here, it was fair to assume, was a real prospect.
And, to be fair, Jack has had his moments in a Leeds shirt this season, notably a fine late strike to earn a point away at Millwall. But, overall, it’s probably equally fair to say that the Stoke born wide attacker hasn’t quite – so far, anyway – lived up to that stellar hype. It’s a case of much being expected of the lad, and yet this nagging feeling that he could and should be doing better – given his club pedigree and undoubted ability.
But there’s another (and increasingly impressive) Jack on Leeds United’s books in the shape of young Jack Clarke, who has started to get first team minutes on the back of some imperious displays at development level. Indeed, at one point, someone suggested with apparent sincerity that it really isn’t fair to play young Clarke at U23 level, as he’s just downright too good. Whatever the case, Jack has made his mark, and he seems certain to get the chance of more time in a first team shirt as the season goes on.
Clarke’s brief but impressive cameo at Blackburn Rovers recently may well have given Harrison something to ponder. The on-loan Jack was back in the team on Wednesday against Ipswich, but it’s not that harsh to say he didn’t pull up too many trees. The home-grown Jack, meanwhile, was champing at the bit from the bench, and you get the feeling that he means to make the most of any opportunities that come his way – as they surely will.
Not so long back, Jack Harrison was asked where he saw himself in five years time and, instead of acknowledging his parent club Man City, he replied “Playing in the Premier League with Leeds”. That’s quite heartwarming, and very laudable – but the up-and-coming Jack Clarke will certainly have an opinion about it.
It may not come down to a simple binary choice anyway – given the versatility demanded of and provided by modern players. It could be that some future Leeds United team will include two Jacks, both of them aces. But, on what we’ve seen so far, it’d be a brave pundit who would bet against Clarke saving Leeds however many millions it would take to make Harrison’s move to Elland Road permanent.
And – who knows? – it may not be too long before that once familiar commentary line is heard again with some regularity at Leeds matches – you know the one…
Clarke – one nil!
Haha, very clever! …Jack be nimble, Jack be quick but which will jump over the candle stick? It is encouraging that, eventually, Leeds has options.
I wish I’d thought of that!
The under 23’s have some fantastic talent to call upon rob , Edmondson and Clarke are quality..
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Thanks, Mr. O – Just seen the news about Edna, and posted what I hope is an appropriate tribute – MOT.
You have brought back memories there Rob. The raised arm, finger pointing skywards, the jaunty jog back to the semi circle.
Shearer stole that iconic celebration.
But anyone who knows football knows where it was born.
Would love young Clarke to adopt it as well as the scoring habit.
That would be just brilliant.
You’ve spotted an impending decision to be made by MB, Rob.
Harrison has done well but has he the talent to take us back?
City speak highly of him and he has the desire to make it at the Etihad.
We therefore have to choose to develop Clarke for the long term benefit of Leeds or Harrison (for City)
I’d go Clarke as you eluded to
Interesting one Rob and whilst Jh has looked good in short bursts it’s JC for me that may have that real stardust as he just seems to ooze natural attacking instinct running at defenders with no fear and shooting on sight. A good few years younger than JH to I am excited at how good JC May become.
What a super story!! How well do I remember sniffer days, and David Coleman’s voice!!!! Brilliant days watching the majesty of super Leeds, best of luck to young Jack. M.O.T.