Former Ipswich man’s displays in Portsmouth shirt keep getting ‘better and better’

Matt Clarke, left, and Ben Close
Matt Clarke, left, and Ben Close
0
Have your say

Matt Clarke’s Pompey performances just keep getting ‘better and better’.

That’s the verdict of The News’ chief sports writer, Neil Allen. who witnessed another masterful display from the Blues centre-back at Bradford on Saturday.

The 22-year-old’s performance in Pompey’s defence earned him yet more man-of-the-match accolades and helped Kenny Jackett’s side open up a three-point lead at the top of the League One table.

Such prowess has seen the likes of Reading, Brighton and Bristol City linked with the former Ipswich man in recent seasons.

And Allen can understand why Clarke is generating such interest, with his game constantly on an upward trajectory.

Speaking in the latest edition of Pompey Talk, he said Clarke was a ‘phenomenal player’.

Allen said: 'I was speaking to the Bradford journo after the game (on Saturday) and he totally agreed with my choice for man of the match - Matt Clarke.

'He's just outstanding, isn't he? He's immense and he's just got better and better with each season.

'Our Gaffer for a day, Matt Reader, said it's amazing he's still in this division with Pompey, that no-one's signed him so far.

'Now Pompey did resist offers for him in the summer, through the owners' determination to keep him, and Pompey do need him to go into the Championship.

'He's just a phenomenal defender and so comfortable on the ball.

'At one point on Saturday he made this wonderful interception and charged up field before being cynically fouled as he approached the final third.

'That's what Clarke does and he rarely gets caught in possession when he makes a charge up the pitch.

‘He's the reigning player of the year and he just gets better and better.

'Jackett often changes his side for the likes of the Checkatrade Trophy and things, but he still likes to involve Clarke.

'He might have to rest him against Maidenhead, we'll see about that as the week goes on, but he's just a phenomenal player.

'We’ve seen him blossom from slicing a ball out of play in a pre-season friendly against Gillingham and thinking: “Mmm, not sure about his distribution here”.

'But you look at his distribution now.

'I just love the fact that he doesn't try anything too clever.

'His power and his mobility and his drive, he just drives the ball up the pitch like something from rugby and he wins you free kicks a lot of times as well. What a player.'