Clarke benefits from playing with first-team defenders

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Harry Clarke has yet to make a first-team appearance for Arsenal, but the talented young defender has already gained valuable experience of playing alongside senior stars.

In recent weeks at U23 level, Clarke has played with Hector Bellerin, Kieran Tierney, Rob Holding and Konstantinos Mavropanos, something which will surely stand him in good stead in his quest to eventually make the breakthrough at the club.

The centre-back has also taken advantage of Zech Medley’s injury to get much playing time in the early weeks of the season and has produced some encouraging performances, which have included him making timely interceptions with regularity.

With a host of players ahead of him in the pecking order, it seems unlikely that Clarke will get a look in for the first-team this season, but next campaign he could well have a chance of featuring in the Carabao Cup and perhaps the Europa League.

Signed from Ipswich Town as a schoolboy, Clarke is capable of playing in midfield or at right-back, but he has now settled at centre-back and helped Arsenal U18s to win the southern section title last season.

Now a fully-fledged member of the U23 side, he has demonstrated that he possesses natural leadership skills and has also proved adept at helping to start attacks with precisely-weighted passes.

Clarke will now be looking to continue to gain as much experience as possible at U23 level as he aims to improve further.

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

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Cygans Parting
Cygans Parting
8 months ago

Thank the lord that he hasn’t played along side Sokratis, Mustafi or David Luiz yet!

C.B.
C.B.
8 months ago
Reply to  Cygans Parting

Always useful to see what not to do…

Mesut O’Neill
Mesut O’Neill
8 months ago
Reply to  Cygans Parting

Hey, Mustafi was in the team that kept it’s only clean sheet since opening day!!

Are Sokratis or Luiz any better than Mustafi? I’m not so sure. Statistically better than £75m Van Dijk & £85m Maguire last season ?

C.B.
C.B.
8 months ago

Which stats?

C.B.
C.B.
8 months ago
Reply to  Reality check

Interesting and show Maguire isn’t worth that much.

The link also says: However, Arsenal fans are unlikely to be swayed by the statistics, after a spate of errors led to crucial goals shipped last season as the Gunners missed out on a spot in the Champions League.

C.B.
C.B.
8 months ago
Reply to  Reality check

No player has successfully dribbled past Van Dijk in the last 12 MONTHS, but nine have skipped past Mustafi. Per your link.

Reality check
Reality check
8 months ago
Reply to  C.B.

The stats don’t prove Mustafi is a great defender but the stats do point to a much wider problem. They show that Mustafi is a highly active, front footed defender making considerably more tackles and interceptions than many of his colleagues, so when he misses one and there is no one to cover him, we get screwed. His numbers also show that he has to contribute defensively quite a bit. Our defense is put under pressure a lot more than other defenses. There is a reason he’s not in the team but things are still the same, worse if you… Read more »

C.B.
C.B.
8 months ago
Reply to  Reality check

It’s a good point, if Vieira and Petit or Gilberto played in front of him I’m sure he would be regarded differently.

Xhaka wouldn’t my choice to play behind if I were a C.B.

Reality check
Reality check
8 months ago
Reply to  C.B.

Loll.. You just mentioned 3 world cup winners, how audacious of you.. Lucky for us, we didn’t have to buy them after the tournament. Xhaka is very much like Petit who thrived next to a beast of a midfielder that Vieira was. He was a perfect bob-to-box midfielder. We have failed to replace not just his footballing ability but his leadership too. He use to tackle, win the ball, pass it forward or carry it himself. He was an alpha male who looked after his pack but also made sure they do their job properly or.. ask Anelka.. loll. There… Read more »

C.B.
C.B.
8 months ago
Reply to  Reality check

Some good points but Petit was a lot better than Xhaka. And Guendouzi is doing great for a 20 year old.

Alex
Alex
8 months ago
Reply to  C.B.

Our Pepe did.

Man Manny
Man Manny
8 months ago

Keep that young man as far away from our current CB pairing, please.

Boom Saka Laca
Boom Saka Laca
8 months ago

Our U23 defence seems to have considerably more quality than our first-team one!

Santori
Santori
8 months ago
Reply to  Boom Saka Laca

What gives you that false impression?

We ship goals at U23 too.

In fact if you bother to watch the matches, Holding was responsible for two of those goals in recent games.

Gooner95
Gooner95
8 months ago

“next campaign he could well have a chance of featuring in the Carabao Cup and perhaps the Europa League”. Jeorge bird has already lost all confidence in Unai Eemery

PeteyB
PeteyB
8 months ago
Reply to  Gooner95

I noticed that too. To be fair Jeorge’s heroes in the academy probably gain the most from our Europa league mediocrity

BKK Gooner
BKK Gooner
8 months ago

So you think we’ll play in EL next season?

Santori
Santori
8 months ago

I expect we will rotate heavily for Forest. BUT not sure if we will risk a green Cback. ……………………..JohnJules………………………. Nelson………………………………………Martinelli ………………………Ozil…………………………….. ………….Willock……………Torreira………………. Tierney………………………………………..Bellerin …………….Holding…….Mustafi…………………… …………………….Macey……………………………. As much as some like to imagine things, none of the young Cbacks including Medley or Mavropanos are as good as Mustafi even. Saliba (IMO we over paid for) and is unavailable. Again a risky buy with only 19 senior games last season under his belt. We mucked up in the summer. We really needed to put main resources into the Cback. Instead Sanlehi brought the wow factor with Pepe. Don’t get me wrong, I’m… Read more »

Spursarewank
8 months ago
Reply to  Santori

Santori RINSING continues

Spursarewank
8 months ago
Reply to  Santori

Also “Saliba who we overpaid for.” Well great analysis and conclusion of an 18 year old who has yet to play a single game for the club