The Rams brought the Brighton defender on loan to Pride Park for the whole season.
Sky Sports pundit and one-time Brighton & Hove Albion ace Keith Andrews has claimed that Derby County loanee Matt Clarke "already looks the part" at the Championship club and tipped him to continue brightly in his development (official Seagulls website).
The 22-year-old defender linked up with the Rams in the summer on a season-long loan deal from the Seagulls (official Derby website), not long after having joined the Premier League side permanently from fellow south coast outfit Portsmouth - a club where he was lauded by the fanbase.
He is pure class. He will play for England. Congratulations on signing him. Play up Pompey— Fratton End Scout (@Pompey_ScoutPFC) 2 August 2019
A truly magnificent player, Pompey fans watched him develop into an outstanding defender who will give 100% every game for you. Not sure what happened at @OfficialBHAFC but for Derby fans it's worked out beautifully. Go and smash it @MatthewClarke96 x x— Lou W (@_Lou78) 2 August 2019
You’ve got yourself an unbelievable player for a year. Classy, gifted footballer, watch him go on one of his trademark runs. It’s like Moses parting the sea!— Martin Christie (@BrokePompey) 2 August 2019
Although Clarke began brightly at Pride Park, playing Derby's first four Championship games in a row, Phillip Cocu omitted him from the starting XI for their last two fixtures, the 1-1 draw with West Bromwich Albion and the 3-0 hammering by Brentford (Transfermarkt).
Nonetheless, Andrews is pleased with what he's seen so far from Clarke, telling the official Brighton website: “When you look at his development at this stage in his career, he’s had to work his way up through the leagues too. He was the exceptional player in League One, he was a great leader and is a player who relishes the defensive side of the game whilst also being comfortable on the ball.
“With the central defending options that Brighton have in place at the moment, the move made absolute sense. His first game against Huddersfield was outstanding, given the fact that he’d only been with the group at Derby County for a couple of days. It’s never easy to settle but he already looks the part and it’s another good stage in his development.”
Clarke had joined the Seagulls in June, their first signing since head coach Graham Potter took charge, having featured 175 times over four seasons at Portsmouth.
Last season, he played in all but one EFL Trophy fixture for Portsmouth, totalling 60 games, and as well as being Man of the Match in the final of that competition, he started every League One game as well as both play off semi-final clashes against Sunderland (official Derby website).
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