Stoke City boss hints at new loan decision from Spurs winger


Stoke City already have an eye on Jack Clarke’s return to the club next season.

Michael o’neill brought in the 20-year-old winger on loan from Tottenham in January and he was part of the squad on match day, starting four times and coming off the bench six more.

That’s already a lot more playing time than in his previous two loans, returning to Leeds in the first half of last season and with Queens Park Rangers in the second.

He is in the running to return to the side facing Swansea for a midweek game and hopefully he can play a decent role for the rest of the campaign – and possibly beyond.

O’Neill said: “Jack is a young player that we brought to the club and he’s been involved in every game basically. He came out of the squad after Norwich and the squad won the next two games he got. so had to be patient. He came in those two games off the bench. On Saturday we changed the system to be tactical.

“We’re happy with Jack’s contribution. There are areas where he still needs to improve, but he’s a very talented young player.

“In terms of loan, he played more minutes than in previous loans, so he’s still adjusting a bit. But he’s a young player that we are looking at by the end of the season to have an impact because that you would like to think that was a situation that we could revisit next year in the longer term.

“Jack just needs to be patient and when he gets the chance make sure he does enough to stay on the squad or force me to pitch him in the next game.”

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There have been significant challenges in O’Neill’s three transfer windows as he tried to reduce the massive size of the squad he inherited.

He’s already sent nine senior players on a permanent basis, but a dozen more are on loan and sometimes the whole rebuilding process requires patience.

When asked this afternoon how far the team is from where he wants them to be, O’Neill said: “That’s far from where we would like her to be. honest We are trying to build a team but at the same time we are obviously trying to break up a team because we have 12 players on loan, which does not help the situation.

“These are the challenges right now, but we have taken steps in the right direction.

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“The transfer windows are frustrating because it is the only opportunity to develop the team from a personal point of view. The team is always evolving, you hope, from a training point of view and a coaching point of view, what you put into the team all the time.

“I think right now sometimes our team – for this league – can look quite young and we also have older players who have given us a lot this season. We have a little gap in the middle.

“To bring the team ideally to where we would like them to be, we probably don’t have enough players in the 23-27 age range who are real beginner players who can push and improve your team. are areas we would be ideally placed in. likes to improve in the team.

“It is not easy because these players usually cost money as they are usually under contract and because of that at that time they are not available for us.”


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