Comment: Appreciate Clarke's performance '“ it might be his final Pompey game

It was the sort of piece of skill you'd associate with Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo or Mo Salah - not a League One centre-back.

Saturday, 5th May 2018, 2:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 5:36 pm
Matt Clarke. Picture: Joe Pepler

On Pompey’s Twitter account, a short video captures Matt Clarke producing ‘two around the world’s’ during a training session ahead of today’s clash against Peterborough.

But to Blues fans, it’s a piece of trickery that won’t really surprise many.

It’s one of the many reasons why Clarke has attracted so many potential suitors – and has admitted he might not be at Fratton Park next season.

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Today’s game against the Posh might be the last time Kal Naismith plays for Pompey.

The likelihood of the Scot penning a fresh deal is unlikely after a disappointing season.

Yet it might also be the final time Clarke dons the star & crescent.

The likes of Brighton, Watford and Wolves have all been linked with the former Ipswich defender.

And if he was to leave for a Premier League or even Championship side, there won’t be many Blues supporters who would begrudge him a move.

Clarke is destined to play at a higher level and he might decide this summer is the right time to do so.

In League One, there aren’t many centre-backs as cultured or well-rounded as Clarke.

He’s composed in the tightest of situations, while his marauding runs forward never fail to excite.

Meanwhile, he’s defensively solid – the way he handled Wigan’s potent attack in the recent 2-1 win at Fratton Park was just one of a number of high-class performances this season.

As a result, he was voted the Pompey players’ player of the season and is also a front-runner for The News/Sports Mail Player of the Season which will be announced today on the pitch before kick-off.

Clarke will know he’s capable of pushing himself further.

And that’s why he’s been open and transparent about his future when questioned, which is to be saluted.

He’s revealed his true feelings that, although he’s happy at Fratton Park, a tempting offer may see him depart to a higher level of football.

That sort of honesty is what Blues fans want to hear – even if it’s hard to hear their prized asset talking about potential moves away.

It’s why Paul Cook’s departure last summer was resented by some sections of the Fratton faithful after declaring he would never leave the club.

So if you’re heading to Fratton Park this evening, don’t take another consummate Clarke performance for granted.

Realise he could be playing his last game for Pompey and appreciate all of his qualities.