Former Portsmouth ace Matt Clarke already impressing at Brighton & Hove Albion

It’s been just more than a month since Matt Clarke completed his move from Pompey to Brighton.

Monday, 22nd July 2019, 6:30 am
Updated Monday, 22nd July 2019, 4:26 pm

Clarke, who won The News/ Sports Mail Player of the Season for the past two years, joined the Seagulls for around £4m.

And despite only being at the Amex for a short space of time, the 22-year-old has already impressed.

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Matt Clarke captained a young Brighton side against Crawley on Friday. Picture: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Clarke’s been making a seamless transition into life at the top-flight side and has gained plenty of early plaudits.

The former Ipswich man made his debut for Brighton in their 5-2 win over FC Liefering on July 13.

He featured in the second half against the Austrian outfit along with fellow summer arrival Leandro Trossard – who clinched the Belgium title with Genk last season.

And Seagulls boss Graham Potter was pleased with how they adapted.

He said: ‘Both of them were good in the second half, it’s never easy coming to a new club and settling in straight away.

‘But they have both adapted well to an increase in level.

‘It was nice for Leandro to get his goal and Matt was solid defensively, so I’m happy with their application this week and am looking forward to working with them going forward.’

There’s fierce competition in the central-defence department at the Amex.

Shane Duffy and Lewis Dunk helped Brighton clinch promotion from the Championship and helped them consolidate in the Premier League for the past two seasons.

Behind them in the pecking order are Nigeria international Leon Balogun and Dan Burn.

Burn played against Clarke during the 2017-18 season when at Wigan.

Despite both competing for a place in Potter’s line-up, the former Fulham man waxed lyrical about his new team-mate.

Burn said: ‘There’s more competition for places now Matt Clarke has come in and he’s a left-footer as well.

‘I played against Matt when we played for Wigan and Portsmouth in League One and he was very good as a young lad coming into the game.

‘He’s played a lot of games for his age and is a very cultured player. I’ve been impressed by what I’ve seen so far.’

Clarke skippered Pompey on several occasions under Kenny Jackett.

And he’s already donned the captain’s armband for Brighton.

On Friday, a young Seagulls side faced Crawley in a pre-season clash.

Potter opted to include Clarke in the 1-0 win against the Reds rather than face Fulham the following day – and again he gave his manager food for thought.

The ex-Swansea boss said: ‘You forget he’s not that old, but he’s played a lot of football and took the responsibility really well.

‘I am happy that he came through 90 minutes.’