Leeds starlet warned Spurs move may ‘send his career backwards’

Matt Stead

Jack Clarke has been warned that leaving Leeds for Tottenham “could send his career backwards”.

Clarke is set to become Tottenham’s first signing since January 2018 after a £10m move was agreed with Leeds.

The Championship had a cheeky request to keep the 18-year-old rejected, with the confirmation of his move to north London expected within days.

But former Leeds right-back Danny Mills has warned Clarke that he is making “the right move at the wrong time”.

“There’s a lot of potential there,” he told Sky Sports. “But at this stage he’s very, very raw, and it is purely potential.

“You have to say, if a player is that good at 18 years old, 19 years old, whoever you are, you have more than four starts in a Championship side. That’s what people have got to think about.

“You know, you’re coming off the bench, it’s easier to pick the ball up and run at people, and you’re generally coming off the bench because you’re either one, two, three-nil up and there’s a little bit more freedom, or there’s desperation stakes, and it’s ‘right, just go and have a go at people, go and do something and be creative,’ whatever it is.

“Why is Marcelo Bielsa not saying, ‘Right, OK, you are worthy of more starts than this’? Can he be trusted? Has he seen enough in training?

“I actually think it’s the wrong move. No, let me correct that: it’s the right move at the wrong time. He’s too young. Is he going to play at Tottenham next season? No chance. He’s going to be nowhere near the first team.

“He’s dipped his toe in the water in a Championship side with a handful of starts. Next year he might have got 15, 20 starts and the opportunity to impress. He now goes to Tottenham and he’s going to, at best, be in their U23 squad.

“I think it’s the wrong move. He should stay and play. He’s a good player. Look at what the Ajax players have done. Look at what other young players going out on loan, some of the young Chelsea players. Playing games week in, week out is what he needs to do.

“Going back to the U23 system…he’s not going to play ahead of Lucas Moura, he’s not going to play ahead of Ndombele. All these people that are coming in, I think this actually could send his career backwards because he’s not going to play football.”