Leeds United supporters have been somewhat quieter in recent times after seeing their side suffer their first Championship defeat of the season last weekend.
Marcelo Bielsa’s men went into their meeting with winless Birmingham City having won five and drawn the other three of their opening eight league games, a run which propelled them to top spot prior to kick-off at Elland Road on Saturday. And while the Yorkshire giants remain at the summit, their unbeaten start came to an end as a brace from Che Adams set Garry Monk’s Blues on their way to all three points, as although Ezgjan Alioski got one back for the hosts late on, it wasn’t enough to inspire a Leeds comeback.
As such, there have been many disappointed Leeds fans up and down the country in recent times, although several are looking ahead to their trip to Sheffield Wednesday this evening in the hope of seeing a response from their side.
Overall though, it has been a hugely encouraging start to the season from Bielsa’s men, and there has been much optimism surrounding 17-year-old winger Jack Clarke, who has been in and around the first team picture in the early stages of the campaign.
And under the guidance of the highly-rated Bielsa, who Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola believes is the ‘best in the world’, the only way is up for the Leeds United sensation.
The forward has come up through the ranks at Elland Road to feature regularly for the club’s Under-18 and Under-23 teams in recent times, helping the latter to a fine start to the new Professional Development League North league season, in which the Whites have won four of their opening seven matches.
In fact, Clarke has impressed so greatly that he has been named in Bielsa’s matchday squad on three occasions this season, making the bench in Championship matches against Millwall and Preston North End, alongside their Carabao Cup success at Newport County.
And while he didn’t feature in any of those games, the fact that he is in the final 18 suggests that he is in Bielsa’s thoughts when it comes to the first team, and with injuries somewhat crippling Leeds in the forward department at the moment, those opportunities may become even more presentable in the near future.
And with Bielsa very much overhauling the squad at Elland Road this summer to leave what many perceive to be a lack of depth in certain positions, players like Clarke may well be called upon more regularly as the season goes on – that’s the level of faith Bielsa seems to have in the club’s academy, which is widely regarded as one of the best in the country.
Significantly, there is little doubting that 17-year-old Clarke will become a much-improved player under the stewardship of Bielsa, who has already transformed this Leeds team from one fighting it out in mid-table to one very much in the hunt for a return to the Premier League – his impact has been remarkable, especially given there weren’t too many new faces at Elland Road during the summer.
But it’s not just on a collective level but also an individual level in which Bielsa has improved Leeds, and with many already raving about how good Clarke could become, the only way is up for the 17-year-old under the Argentine’s guidance at Elland Road.
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