Andrew Clarke programme interview

Posted : 20th November 2021

Young forward Andrew Clarke arrived at Linfield on a two-year contract in the summer as a player with great promise. The move came just weeks after impressing for Crusaders against Linfield in a Windsor Park league game towards the end of last season, and the former Saintfield youth player says that experience whetted his appetite for the move.

“I am really enjoying it. It’s a really good set-up at Linfield and there are a lot of good guys and great footballers at the club. I played against Linfield for Crusaders at Windsor Park towards the end of last season and it gave me a taste of playing here. It was a really competitive game and I was up against Stephen Fallon and Jamie Mulgrew which was a great experience because they are two exceptional players. After that I really aspired to learn off them and when I got the opportunity to join, it was a no-brainer.”

For Clarke another lure was playing for manager David Healy, who recently described the young attacker as having ‘more brains than a rocket scientist’. The 18 year-old – whilst naturally eager to play in every big match for the first team – says he understands that the manager knows what’s best for his development and he is grateful to have started in a number of cup matches so far.

“I have played in a number of the cup matches and it’s been a really good experience getting minutes under my belt. It has helped me to gel with my teammates and I have been fortunate to get a couple of goals in those matches which I was pleased with.

“I just have to learn and trust in the manager, he’s the one who picks the team and he knows what’s best for my development. When you look at the results he’s got in his time here, you couldn’t doubt him. He was another appeal for me coming here. When I was joining, I spoke to him and the vision he pitched to me was really appealing. To play under David Healy is a great experience, he is a great manager.”

A grounded personality, Andrew believes the first team squad at Linfield is very strong and he will have a lot of continued hard work ahead to make a breakthrough into the team, but he believes the club’s newly-adapted model of full-time football can be really beneficial for his development.

“I am full-time here, I train every day with the lads and I see the standards where I need to be at. The full-time training is completely different to anything I’ve done before… it’s really intense but really enjoyable. It allows you to get in every morning and get your training done. It really is intense, you work really hard. Even in my short time here, it has helped me to improve my game and I see a lot of improvements through the club already thanks to the full-time environment.”

Finishing off, Andrew is backing the Blues to show their mettle and bounce back from a few recent disappointing results as Cliftonville visit Windsor Park today.

“We have been really disappointed with recent results, as you’d expect because we all want to win every game. There’s no solution other than to keep working as hard as we can to get results back on track and knowing the quality and mindset here, I fully believe we will be able to do that. We will be going into the Cliftonville game full of fire, it’s a big game and Linfield teams always have to respond to setbacks in the right manner.”

No doubt Andrew will be ready whenever he receives the call from David Healy, and with plenty of big games on the horizon, he will be determined to make the most of the game time opportunities that are likely to come his way in the coming months.
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