Kenny Jackett: Matt Clarke’s place in League One Team of the Season deserved – and we want him to move up the leagues with Portsmouth

Kenny Jackett saluted Matt Clarke for being named in the League One Team of the Season.

Saturday, 6th April 2019, 2:16 pm
Updated Saturday, 6th April 2019, 2:22 pm
Pompey defender Matt Clarke

And the boss hopes centre-back fulfils his ambitions of playing further up the football pyramid with Pompey. 

Clarke was the only Blues player who won a berth in the third-tier side of the campaign. 

It contains Barnsley quartet Adam Davies, Ethan Pinnock, Alex Mowatt and Cameron McGheehan, Luton trio Jack Stacey, James Justin and James Collins, John Marquis and Herbie Kane of Doncaster, and Sunderland winger Aiden McGeady.

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Pompey defender Matt Clarke

Jackett believes Clarke fended off tough competition and full deserves his spot in the XI.

The Pompey manager said: ‘It is very good and there is good competition when you’re looking at the left centre-backs in League One.

‘Congratulations to Matt and it’s good for the club.

‘Matt and Pinnock are both left-footers and that’s interesting.

His Checkatrade Trophy final performance underlined why many regard Matt Clarke as the best defender in the division. Strong in the air, rock solid in the challenge and and his trademark forays forward make him almost unplayable.

‘Naby Sarr has done very well, he played well against us at Charlton.

‘Then you’re looking at defensive records. Curtis Tilt and Ben Heneghan at Blackpool have been excellent.

‘Luton have Sonny Bradley and Matty Pearson – a lot of left-footers in that funnily enough.

‘That’s even without Liam Lindsay, who has been linked to some big moves from Barnsley.

‘The competition has been very good and Matt has done very well to get into the team.

‘He’s been very consistent over the two seasons I have been here and fully deserves it.

‘He’s been a real rock for us in our defence.’

Clarke is regarded as Pompey’s prized asset and has plenty of potential suitors.

He’s been linked with the likes of Brighton, AFC Bournemouth and Watford in the past.

Some fans fear Clarke will depart Fratton Park if the Blues are not promoted to the Championship this summer.

Under contract at Fratton Park until June 2020, Jackett wants the 22-year-old to move up tor Football League with the Blues.

He added: ‘I certainly hope so (Clarke plays higher up with Pompey).

‘If you’re getting to the number of league games he has by the time you’re 22 then there’s no reason why you can’t.

‘As ever, we really want it to be with us.

‘He’s under contract with us beyond this summer and are in a good position.

‘But if we go up and stay down is still to be seen.

‘The shape of the squad will be something we’ll have to react to pretty quickly to ensure we’re as strong as possible.’