First there was Jack Grealish, then Callum O’Hare. Now, there is another fleet-ffooted number ten rising through the ranks at Bodymoor Heath with Aston Villa’s prosperous youth academy unearthing another glittering gem.
These days, Grealish is Villa’s captain and star man, their on-pitch leader and creative fulcrum. O’Hare, meanwhile, is shining out on loan at Coventry City with the Solihull-born wonderkid possessing the same quick feet and vision that once made a fresh-faced Grealish stand out in the third tier with Notts County.
20-year-old Jack Clarke remains somewhat under the radar however but, if he continues to make the difference at U23 level, it will be only a matter of time before fans are clamouring for a first-team debut.
As reported by the Birmingham Mail, Clarke has been training with Dean Smith’s senior stars on occasions recently with a coach who has an enviable record of promoting youth obviously very impressed with a technically gifted playmaker.
And Smith would certainly have been impressed by Clarke’s Man of the Match performance as Aston Villa’s U23s beat Fulham 1-0 on Monday night. Indiana Vassilev scored the game’s only goal following a wonderful cross from Clarke while a glorious spin and swivel which left the Cottagers defence bamboozled would have left even Johann Cryuff himself feeling charmed.
Clarke is exactly the kind of confident, classy young footballer that Smith loves. Expect to see more of him in the months to come.
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