Leeds United winger Jack Clarke has spoken out about his season at Elland Road and the difficulty he faced after losing his place last month following a collapse.
The 18-year-old was named as a substitute for the Whites in last season’s FA Cup third round defeat to Newport County but had to wait until this season to make his first senior start.
New Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa had Clarke on the bench for several matches in September and October before he made his league debut as a substitute against Brentford.
His first goal for the Whites came against Aston Villa in December and another from the bench against Nottingham Forest saw him handed a start against Derby County in January.
Clarke has now played 17 games in all competitions this season, scoring twice, but spent more than a month away from the Leeds matchday squad following the 1-1 draw against Middlesbrough in February.
On that night, he fell ill, was admitted to hospital for tests and has only recently been given the all-clear to return, coming off the bench at the weekend during the Whites’ 1-0 defeat to rivals Sheffield United.
And he says that despite the difficulties in having a month off, he is happy to be back playing football again.
“I love coming back in even after a week off,” Clarke told LUTV, as quoted by The Yorkshire Evening Post.
“I just love coming back in and being around the lads and being involved.”
“I’ve been in the gym when I felt like I could train and play because obviously I haven’t got a muscular injury or anything, so I feel like I could have played, could have trained, but I’ve just not been able to.”
Clarke went on to talk about his time out of the side and how hard it was to suddenly find himself not part of the squad.
“It was hard to be honest, watching the lads play and do well and not being as involved as I want to be.
“It was difficult,” he admitted.
Leeds fans will be delighted that he is back and fully fit and he will be pushing hard for another start when the Whites return to action against Millwall on March 30.