Sunderland boss makes Jack Clarke transfer admission as he reflects on ex-Leeds United and Spurs winger's brilliant form

Sunderland boss Tony Mowbray is revelling in the opportunity to work closely with talented winger Jack Clarke having conceded that he'd turned down the chance to sign him while at Blackburn Rovers.

Clarke ended last season strongly after joining on loan from Tottenham Hotspur, who had signed him from Leeds United for a fee believed to be in the region of £10 million.

Sunderland paid a six-figure fee initially to convert his loan into a permanent deal, though there are numerous add-ons and a sell-in clause attached.Clarke has responded with an excellent run of form, his tally of three goals and four assists putting him in the very top bracket of Championship wingers through the opening ten games of the season.

Mowbray has previously noted how impressive Clarke's work-rate has been given that he operated primarily in a wing-back role, the physical demands of which will inevitably lead to some fatigue and inconsistency.

Sunderland winger Jack Clarke

The head coach was asked about managing Clarke's workload ahead of the Watford draw and it's something that will very much be in his thoughts in a hectic October schedule, particularly now that Jewison Bennette and Amad Diallo are in regular contention.

"It's very much in our thoughts," Mowbray explained.

"I know inconsistency is part of being a young footballer from my own experience, and you have battles in your own head about trying to be consistent.

"I played my best football after 30 because I knew my body, understood the game and speed of it, where I needed to put people. "Young players, it's more off the cuff and Jack falls into that category. What a wonderful talent he is.

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"The first half at Reading for example he frustrated me a bit, he couldn't get on the ball as much as he'd have liked, and he doesn't really have those double movements yet, to run away and come back to buy some space, to come short and then spin away when the defender comes tight, these are all the things he has to work on.

"What nobody can deny is the talent he has when the ball is at his feet, how fast his feet are and how wonderful a talent he is.

"And he's a joy to work with because he's a wonderfully happy-go-lucky kid. There's times I'd like him to be a bit more serious but that's because he really is a diamond of a lad, we all love him.

"Jack was proposed to us a lot at Blackburn Rovers for a loan but we never took it up, because I'd seen him play against us for the U23s and he hardly had a kick, I just felt he'd lost his way, you're obviously a talent if you move for the kind of fee he did.

"It's just about finding the answers and giving him that confidence, showing him that love. You have to have that understanding that from time to time you might bring him off because he's just having one of those days, but you never push him to the back of the queue because he can win you football matches."

Only QPR’s Ilias Chair and fellow Black Cat Ross Stewart have more goal involvements than Clarke’s seven so far this season.