Can Wonderkid Jack Clarke Make Miraculous History for Leeds United? – by Rob Atkinson


…league games since United got a penalty kick

Leeds United’s teenage wonder and rumoured Manchester City target Jack Clarke is already making a considerable name for himself, on the back of a string of cameo performances that have seen him lend a new dimension to the Whites’ attacking play. No less a football authority than Clarke’s Elland Road manager, Marcelo Bielsa, has acknowledged the youngster’s potential to be a game changer, and it may even be that Clarke is destined to write himself into the history of Yorkshire’s No. 1 club by winning for them – whisper it in hushed tones – a penalty kick.

Some, of course, will dismiss this as fanciful in the extreme. There’s some justification for such cynical pessimism too – teams don’t go 58 games without a penalty (and having ten awarded against them over the same period) without some pretty determined referees being prepared to turn a blind eye and cock a deaf ear to all appeals, however much merit they may have. So why should a fleet-footed wide man, with consummate control and more tricks up his sleeve than you could shake a stick at, make any real difference?

The reason for guarded optimism lies in young Jack’s engaging ability to receive the ball in space out wide, in an onside position (unlike Alioski) and then jink and trick his way past his full back before making inroads into the opposition area (unlike Alioski). Keep doing this, and you’ll get chopped down in the box, sure as eggs are eggs. And keep getting chopped down in the box – well, surely you’re bound to get a decision sooner or later, even if you’ve got a Leeds United badge on your shirt.

And when that momentous penalty kick is awarded, maybe even this season, we might even manage to convert it, unless we’ve actually forgotten how it’s done. In which case, I do hope that the squad occasionally watch the video of last season’s shootout at Burnley in the Carabao Cup, when we made taking penalties look as easy as shelling peas. With that encouragement, anything is possible – but maybe I should just stop wishing for penalties, and enjoy how our heroes seem to be managing perfectly well without any.

Still – it would be nice. So make those runs, young Jack, commit those defenders and just hope that, when the referee does blow his whistle, it’s not just to book you for “diving”.

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13 responses to “Can Wonderkid Jack Clarke Make Miraculous History for Leeds United? – by Rob Atkinson

  1. Stephenc Cartwrightc

    i’d like to see Shackleton get a start at right back with Clarke replacing Alioski on the left Rob.Shackleton has a lot more in his game than Dallas has going forward and with his trickery and pace this too could earn us the Holy Grail of a spot kick.

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    • I rate Shackleton, but I think there’s a balance to be struck here, in that we have to limit the number of kids in the team. And I think Dallas has done ok lately.

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  2. NickB(50yrsLU)

    Thanks for doing a piece focusing on Jack Clarke – he really stood out for me the other day. I’m completely with you on ‘Jenny’ Alioski too – spends his whole time posing, and preening himself, like a Rinaldo without the skill to go with it. I wonder if Clarke could play on the other side; let’s have him in every game, if that’s not risking burn-out in an eighteen-year-old. As for penalties, we did get them when Wood was around – it doesn’t make sense that they’ve dried up in the past couple of seasons, unless word has got about amongst the refereeing fRATernity that Roofe looks for them!

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  3. I’d deffo like to see Clarke, Shackleton and one or two others given a run out in the cup. I think Clarke is ready now for a start.
    Clutching at straws though Rob to hope his inclusion may lead to a penalty. More chance of the pride of Devon finishing above Bournemouth this year.Haha.

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  4. Go on get one for yourself son

    I am Just waiting for the Headline “Clarke 1 nil ” it could be a penalty against
    Arsenal in the next round of the FA cup after we get passed QPR

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  5. Life is LUFC

    For any Leeds player to be awarded a penalty he will have to die first and then the ref will have the medics on before he takes that decision just to be sure.
    Thanks for the clock.

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  6. Looks like Shackleton may get his chance at right back with Dallas sidelined. Injuries stacking up now at the back. No probs. The kids will be alright.

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