Dan Ashworth hints at Newcastle United’s new transfer strategy
Bruce had said Clark, son of former Newcastle midfielder Lee, was a “very, very good player” by the Academy staff.
“I wouldn’t want to single out individuals, but we’ve got a youngster from Carlisle (White) who people think highly of, and the boy from Clarkie is supposed to be a very, very good player,” Bruce said.
“I think it’s vitally important for a club like this: to have one is always a little bit special. We have one or two more, but they still have to take the next step.”
Unfortunately for Newcastle, Clark made the biggest step, that of youth football to the first team, to Liverpool.
“Thank you to all the staff and my teammates at @nufc for 7 amazing years and everything you’ve done to guide me to where I am today,” Clark said on Instagram. “You will always have a special place in my heart.”
Liverpool’s Bobby Clark arrives at Anfield ahead of his full debut earlier this month.
“We’re disappointed to lose him, because nobody wants to lose a good player,” Bruce said at the time. “Yes, disappointed, of course we are. I think (the system) is flawed. It’s been here since I was a kid. I think in the end it was better for all parties to separate.”
Clark made the tough decision to leave his boyhood club after touring Liverpool’s facilities and meeting key staff, and hasn’t looked back.
Remarkably, the England youth international already has first-team experience with his new club at the age of 17.
Liverpool’s Bobby Clark playing against Derby County.
Clark can play anywhere in the forward line, as well as in midfield. At United, he was used as a number 10, but at Liverpool he has been used as a number 8 or number 11 in their 4-3-3 system.
Clark, who had yet to make the step up to Newcastle’s Under-18s in his final season on Tyneside, has certainly progressed rapidly since crossing the Pennines. Clark scored on his debut for Liverpool Under-18s and finished last season with 13 goals in all competitions.
It followed a call-up to the first-team squad for Liverpool’s pre-season tour of Asia this summer.
Clark, born in Epsom while his father was playing for Fulham, made his Premier League debut on the bench in August. Shortly before the national calendar came to a halt for the World Cup, he made his full debut in a Carabao Cup tie against Derby County.
Newcastle United’s Lee Clark, father of Bobby, celebrates scoring against Middlesbrough in 2006.
The move has worked brilliantly for the talented and dedicated Clark, who quickly won Klopp’s admiration. It seems certain that one day we will see him playing at St James’s Park, for Liverpool.
Addressing the underinvestment of the Ashley era, United’s ambitious new owners must now invest in the academy to ensure it has everything it needs to attract and keep the best players in the region.