Portsmouth assistant Joe Gallen reveals secret to ‘ultra-professional’ Matt Clarke’s drive for footballing greatness

Joe Gallen has lifted the lid on the gruelling personal fitness regime driving Matt Clarke towards greater heights.

By Neil Allen
Monday, 6th May 2019, 4:42 pm
Updated Monday, 6th May 2019, 4:48 pm
Joe Gallen believes Matt Clarke's outstanding dedication has moulded him into the player he is. Picture: Daniel Chesterton/phcimages.com
Joe Gallen believes Matt Clarke's outstanding dedication has moulded him into the player he is. Picture: Daniel Chesterton/phcimages.com

The impressive central defender has been crowned The News/Sports Mail’s Player of the Season – for a second-successive year.

It represents deserved recognition for a 22-year-old destined for the Championship at the very least next season, with or without Pompey.

According to Gallen, Clarke’s remarkable dedication involves working out at Roko’s gym at least an hour before the start of Blues training, on a daily basis.

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It’s outstanding commitment which convinces Pompey’s assistant manager that the prized defender is destined for a ‘great career’.

Gallen said: ‘He totally invests himself every day, there is no real day off for Matt, there is always something to work on and training is the same thing.

‘That’s why he is having a great career – but it’s going to get greater. He keeps working and it’s only going to improve.

‘Matt is totally dedicated to his performance. At 8am he will be walking past staff having their breakfast fry up and going to the gym. Every day.

‘The players don’t have to be in until 9am or 9.15am, but he and Jamal will be in at Roko at 8am.

‘Everyone has a lot of time for Matt because he is an ultra-professional person, working hard and committed to getting the most out of himself, squeezing every last yard out of his performance.

‘Matt really invests in himself, in his physique, in his body, he looks after himself fantastically well, his diet, he will be controlled in what he eats, his sacrifices.

‘He trains every day like it’s his last-ever training session.

‘I do worry he is going to smash all the forwards and make them all injured so I have to talk to him a little bit!

‘Matt deserves everything which comes his way because he gets the most out of himself, is willing to listen, acknowledges if he makes mistakes, is very level-headed – and the best person to have playing in your team.’

Clarke has this term scooped 13 Player of the Season awards from the Fratton faithful.

In addition, he was named in the PFA League One Team of the Year and in the Football Manager Team of the Season in the EFL Awards.

Gallen added: ‘All the players these days really work hard on themselves, much more than they did 10-20 years ago.

‘Working in the gym so much is part of their regime.

‘It’s about investing in themselves, what they are doing is making sure they don’t get injured, that they are as quick as they can, as powerful as they can – and trying to improve on all that power they already have.’