Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa has made a habit of it lately to throw young Jack Clarke onto the pitch at half-time, to a great deal of success.
And Saturday’s 1-0 win over Bolton Wanderers was no different as the 18-year-old showed his talent in another 45-minute stint at the Macron Stadium.
Clarke replaced Lewis Baker at the break and immediately made his presence felt as he contributed to a wave of Leeds United attack that eventually led to substitute striker, Patrick Bamford, finding the back of the net in the 66th minute.
But Clarke made an excellent little dart on the right flank a few minutes before the goal, ghosting past Bolton’s Will Buckley and Andrew Taylor that saw the midfielder come really close to setting up Mateusz Klich for a possible strike, only for last-gasp defending by the home side to keep the scores level at that stage.
But the sniping run from Clarke emphasised what a great local talent he is for Bielsa and Leeds United fans. Having come from the club’s academy and u-18 squad, the manager has slowly but surely nurtured him into his setup by giving him game-time in the Championship.
And it appears as if Clarke is learning and growing with every occasion that he takes to the field. The fact that the Whites are league leaders and will push until the very end of the season for promotion to the Premier League should also provide him with a great deal of experience.
Not many players that age have cracked the nod of their manager in such a way that Clarke has done under Bielsa. His composure and patience is already on the level of a seasoned footballer and he’s also been given a sense of freedom by Bielsa to express himself, like he did with that run on Saturday.
The future is very promising for Jack Clarke. As it is for Leeds United.