Thankfully I’m not in Pep Clotet’s shoes, because it means I don’t have to make these kinds of decisions.
Because it really is a headscratcher.
Club captain Harlee Dean is set to come back from his three-game suspension against Millwall tomorrow, and with one man coming in, that means someone has to be left out. Will it be Marc Roberts who has played 90 minutes in all bar one of the club’s games this season? Or will it be the young Jake Clarke-Salter who has been filling in for Dean during his absence and has been getting positive reviews as a result.
Speaking in his press conference ahead of the game, Clotet hinted that perhaps it was the Chelsea loanee who will be missing out this weekend, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be making an impact going forward:
“The good thing for us is that Jake managed to convince everyone that he is an asset for us. Now we have plenty of competition in there and it allows us some moments of rotation with Christmas coming and a lot of games. That’s massive work Jake has put in that will pay off for us.”
Which I feel is slightly harsh, because he hasn’t really put a foot wrong since he was brought into the team, with no major mistakes that make you think he can’t really handle it at this level. However at least Clotet has said that he will still have a role to play going forward, rather than just pushing him to one side.
I’ve said before that someone like Clarke-Salter has to take some level of priority because we’ve only got him for a limited time, and he shouldn’t be barged out of the team just because of the captain’s comeback. If things are working out, and given that we could have had three draws in the games he was in the team, had it not been for Camp’s error against Fulham, I’d say they are, then he shouldn’t be forced out of the team until his performances drop.
Should Jake Clarke-Salter be more prominent in the first team?
At the end of the day, if it isn’t broken, it doesn’t need fixing.