That's four player of the season awards in five years - Ex-Portsmouth, Derby, West Brom and Ipswich defender racking up the accolades

A former Pompey favourite has claimed a remarkable fourth player of the season award in the last five years as his reputation continues to soar.

Sunday, 8th May 2022, 11:30 am
Updated Sunday, 8th May 2022, 12:38 pm
Matt Clarke has been named as the Ideal Heating Supporters' Player of the Season award for West Brom. Picture: Tony Marshall/Getty Images
Matt Clarke has been named as the Ideal Heating Supporters' Player of the Season award for West Brom. Picture: Tony Marshall/Getty Images

However, Matt Clarke’s future remains uncertain as he still awaits his Brighton debut.

The central defender has been crowned Ideal Heating Supporters' Player of the Season following an impressive campaign at West Brom.

The 25-year-old featured 33 times during a season-long loan with a Baggies side which finished a disappointing 10th-placed finish.

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Such recognition is not unusual for Clarke, who won successive The News/Sports Mail Player of the Season recognition for 2017-18 and 2018-19.

Having subsequently joined Brighton in June 2019, he was then loaned to Championship club Derby for the 2019-20 campaign – and won one there as well.

The former Ipswich defender collected the Jack Stamps Player of the Season, having turned out 37 times and scored once for the Rams.

He returned to Pride Park for another season-long loan last term, yet there was no personal glory on that occasion.

Matt Clarke with The News/Sports Mail's Pompey Player of the Season Trophy for 2017-18. Picture: Joe Pepler

However, on Friday he was named player of the season at West Brom, winning with more than 50 per cent of the vote to make it four in five years.

Fittingly, he marked his final loan outing for the club by netting in Saturday’s 4-0 hammering of relegated Barnsley, signalling his maiden goal in their colours.

Clarke has made 114 appearances and scored twice in the three seasons since leaving Fratton Park, none of which have come for parent club Brighton.

Of those, 110 outings have arrived in the Championship as he cements himself at that level since stepping up from League One.

Speaking to West Brom’s club website, Clarke said: ‘I’m absolutely delighted to pick up this award.

‘I felt I’d come into the team and done well at the start of the campaign, but to get the injury was a setback and you obviously never know if you’re going to properly get back up to speed. I worked really hard and thankfully I wasn't out for too long.

‘There's an underlying frustration from this season because as a team, and as a club, we’ve underachieved. I take all the criticism onboard which is what we have to do because that’s part of being a footballer.

‘Some of the supporters have gone out of their way to vote for me and I take great pride in that. I'd like to thank them for doing so.’

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