Clarke set for bright future despite injury setback

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Like many Arsenal youngsters, Harry Clarke has endured his fair share of injury problems, and the prospect has been dealt a further blow after he suffered a fractured shinbone while playing for the U18s against Swansea City last weekend.

The injury is particularly frustrating for Clarke given that it comes at a time when he was establishing himself as a fundamental part of the U18 side under Ken Gillard.

The former Ipswich Town youngster was initially a midfielder before being moved into defence, often featuring at right-back and centre-back in recent years.

However, this season Clarke has reverted back to being a midfielder and has produced some excellent performances as he has struck up an encouraging partnership with Matt Smith.

Already tied to a professional contract, Clarke is capable of playing slick passes with regularity and possesses impressive technique, while he is also effective at breaking up play.

Clarke’s injury could see him miss the commencement of Arsenal’s FA Youth Cup campaign, but the youngster will hope to feature in the competition later down the line.

The 17-year-old has been on the bench for Arsenal at U23 level but has yet to make a competitive appearance for the older age group.

Once he is back fit again, however, it surely won’t be too long before Clarke receives the opportunity to feature for Freddie Ljungberg’s side.

With Clarke unavailable, Arsenal U18s will have to adapt and that could involve Yunus Musah moving deeper into midfield so that Miguel Azeez, a hugely talented schoolboy, can receive more playing time.

Azeez, who is especially effective as a number ten, made his first appearance of the season for the U18s in the aforementioned fixture against Swansea and caught the eye as he provided two assists.

Arsenal U18s, who are currently top of the league, are back in action on Saturday when they host Fulham.

Jeorge Bird is the author of www.arsenalyouth.wordpress.com Follow him on Twitter @jeorgebird

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Hantal
Hantal

So many of our young players have spent significant time on the sidelines, you have to assume somethings wrong with the setup.
(I realise a broken shinbone isn’t caused by improper preparation)

PeteyB
PeteyB

My word, our youth team are looking a bit lightweight and immobile in that picture. Get them down to Darren Burgess pronto.

TeeCee
TeeCee

… and they don’t need to train for a wet Friday night at Stoke any more.

Mann
Mann

Reverted back ? Reverted ? Gone back ?