Morgan Clarke | Versatility key to regular playing time

12th May 2020
Morgan Clarke 16x9

Morgan Clarke believes his versatility has been a key factor in him earning regular opportunities with Swansea City’s under-18s over the course of the season.

The first-year scholar, who has been with the Swans since the age of 12, has played in 12 of the under-18s’ 15 matches in Premier League South this term, as well as all three Premier League Cup encounters prior to the termination of the academy football programme due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Midfielder Clarke has also made a couple of late substitute appearances for the under-23s since signing a two-year scholarship last summer.

The 17-year-old joined the club as a striker but has since gone on to appear in various positions for Swansea’s age-grade sides.

This 2019-20 season alone has seen him feature on the wing, in the number 10 role and as a right wing-back for the under-18s, as well as his preferred position in the heart of midfield.

And he feels that adaptability has been hugely beneficial towards his increased time on the pitch.

“Being able to play in different positions certainly helps me. If anything, it means more game time,” he said.

“If I’m needed in any position, I can slot in. I’m happy to play anywhere so long as I’m on the pitch.

“Although I’ve been playing in various positions, I feel like I’ve cemented my place in the team.

“At the start of the season, I had to quickly adapt to the pace of the game and what was expected of me, but I feel like I’ve adjusted quite well.”

Clarke, who hails from Cardiff, stepped up to play five times for the under-18s at the back end of last season.

Morgan Clarke

His impressive performances in the under-16s side earned him a two-year scholarship with the club.

But whilst delighted to move onto the next stage of his Swansea City career, he admits the contract provided extra incentive for him to kick on and not stand still.

“I was really happy to sign my scholarship in the summer,” he reflected.

“It was a long process of travelling up and down the M4 every day for training, but it was worth it in the end.

“Nevertheless, I knew that as soon as I signed it that the hard work truly started.

“Now, I must keep pushing towards that pro deal.”

Clarke’s consistent displays for the under-18s at the start of this campaign led to him being called up to the under-23s squad at the end of November.

Then, he made his debut for the development side as a late substitute in their Premier League Cup defeat by Colchester United at Landore.

The central midfielder, who also appeared for the last five minutes of the under-23s' victory over Stoke City just over a month later, is hopeful that further chances to impress at that level will follow.

“It was a very good experience to step up to the under-23s. I’d been looking forward to it for a while,” he said.

“It was good that I wasn’t rushed into it at the start of the season; I felt like it was a better time for me to make my debut against Colchester.

“It was a tight game so the fact the coaches trusted me to come on and do a job gave me a lot of confidence.

“They’re a very welcoming group of lads. They’ve probably been in the same places themselves at one point, so they’re always happy to help you out as a younger player.

“Hopefully, I can get more opportunities at that level and play for longer when football is able to resume safely.”