26 July 2021, 17:16 | 27 August 2021, 22:39
When starting out in the game, most young footballers dream of playing for the biggest clubs at the highest level. For many it may not happen as planned, but for others, those dreams come true. That appears to be the case for young Arsenal player Harrison (aka Harry) Clarke, who seems ready to make the jump to first team level in the Premier League this season after spending time on loan at Oldham Athletic F.C. and playing in the EFL's League Two over the past year.
The young 20 year old defender began his youth career at Ipswich Town, where his talent was quickly scouted by Arsenal, who brought him to their own youth setup in 2015. He would sign his first professional contract at the North London club three years later, but still found opportunities limited, with the aforementioned loan move to Oldham seen as the best step to help further his development by gaining first team experience in a lower yet no less competitive league.
It took him only a few weeks to score his first competitive goal for Oldham, helping them to a 2-1 win against Cheltenham Town in November 2020. After making a good impression, Oldham were happy to extend the loan to the end of the 2020-21 season, giving Clarke the perfect amount of time to gain a proper taste for the competitive spirit of the game.
How he brings that talent to the harsher reality of the Premier League remains to be seen, but Harry Clarke has so far proven himself to be a highly versatile player capable of adapting well to different environments. Though he is primarily a defender, he began by playing as a midfielder at Ipswich, and Arsenal reportedly think he is capable of playing on the right side as well as in central defence. It's possible that he also holds a taste for trying to push forward and score the odd goal.
Only time will tell if Clarke gets the opportunity to showcase his full potential at Arsenal this season, but we may see a rising star in the making.