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Jake Clarke-Salter has swapped John Terry for John O'Shea to

 Post subject: Jake Clarke-Salter has swapped John Terry for John O'Shea to
PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2018 2:32 am 
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Jake Clarke-Salter has swapped John Terry for John O'Shea to guide his fast-track education

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beer777 As a Chelsea youngster, Jake Clarke-Salter used to be able to learn from John Terry but he is relishing a much fiercer examination at Sunderland

Jake Clarke-Salter started his career learning from John Terry, now the 20-year-old is delighted to have John O’Shea as a defensive mentor.

As part of England’s Under-20 World Cup-winning team, the Chelsea centre-back is one of this country’s bright hopes for the future. He is composed in possession and in footballing terms, has a reading age well above his actual one.

Clarke-Salter will spend the second half of this season on loan at Sunderland receiving a fast-track education. He has picked a tough school, however.

With a pedigree like his, the Londoner could have chosen easier options than a team then bottom of the Championship, fighting a second successive relegation battle in front of a frustrated and demoralised support for a club with no money to do much about it. But not many second-tier clubs can offer more than 180 caps of international experience and the thought of tapping into it was a massive attraction when he considered his options in early January.

To hear Clarke-Salter talking so enthusiastically about his early experiences at the Stadium of Light will hopefully whet the appetites of some of the other talented but raw youngsters manager Chris Coleman is targeting as he looks to exploit the loan market to make up for a non-existent transfer budget.

Love him or loathe him, Terry was one of the best out-and-out defenders of his generation, an ideal on-field role model for a wide-eyed youngster on the Cobham training pitches. Clarke-Salter never got to appear competitively alongside the Stamford Bridge legend but now shares a pitch with one of the most decorated players of the era instead.

“John’s seen it all and he leads by example,” says Clarke-Salter admiringly. “He sets the tone for us younger players around him.

“It’s a similar situation to what I used to have with John Terry – he’s been there, done that, won 100-odd international caps, so to learn from him is brilliant for me.

“It helps me and Tyias (Browning) to have someone who’s been there and played in massive games for massive clubs here at Sunderland and (Manchester) United. He sets the tone, gives me advice and helps me a lot through the game.”

It is not just O’Shea’s brain the youngsters have been able to pick. Coleman won 32 caps for Wales and is the only Briton still active in management to have led a country to the European Championship semi-finals. His central defensive partner-turned assistant Kit Symons played 36 times for them during his Premier League career.

“They’ve helped me a lot,” says Clarke-Salter. “They’ve helped me in training and given me a few tips and pointers after the Cardiff game so to learn from them is great for me. beer777

“I feel that as a centre-back I will learn a lot here – I’ll learn how to defend and I can learn from playing with experienced players like (Lee) Cattermole and O’Shea. I can only improve.”

As the survivor of one too many relegation battles for most fans’ comfort, O’Shea is not universally popular on the terraces but his influence on Sunderland’s youngsters is obvious. Clarke-Salter and fellow loanee Browning do not have 50 career starts combined but between them is a former Champions League, Premier League, FA Cup and League Cup winner, a veteran of the World Cup and European Championships. The Irishman made his 200th league start for Sunderland alone against Hull City, and marked it with a fifth clean sheet this season, all since Coleman took charge.

As a back three, they make a good combination, O’Shea controlling from the heart, the youngsters providing the energy to protect his ageing legs and some extra quality on the ball.

This is Clarke-Salter’s second taste of the Football League after an injury-disrupted spell at Bristol Rovers last season, but his first of the Championship. His baptism was a fairly fiery one – 45 minutes of pleasing-on-the-eye football where he demonstrated skills typical of a modern academy graduate then bang, muscled out of the road by Kenneth Zohore en route to one of Cardiff City’s four second-half goals. The last came from Clarke-Salter trying to keep the ball in play, but picking out Bruno Ecuele Manga rather than a team-mate. Welcome to proper football, son.

The sheer size and physicality of Neil Warnock’s Bluebirds was a reminder of what the second-tier game is all about for a player brought up in the cosy comfort zone of academy football’s manicured pitches, technically-precise players and state-of-the-art back-up.

“The difference is massive – the physicality, the pace of the game – but I’m here to work very hard and hopefully improve as a player,” says Clarke-Salter, clearly relishing the thought.

“I’m 20 now so I wanted to get out (on loan), experience it all and hopefully improve. I feel like this is a perfect club for me to do it.

“It’s about moving on to the next step now for so many young players and hopefully I can do that now at Sunderland.”

The presence of national under-21s coach Colin Cooper at the Academy of Light was a reminder that Clarke-Salter has been earmarked for bigger things.

If he can graduate from this examination with flying colours, it will not just be Sunderland but England who benefit.
beer777


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