‘At under-18 level you never get anyone that big!’

Harry Clarke

Our opening Trophy fixture proved to be a special occasion for Harry Clarke, as he captained the side and played his first competitive game against senior opposition. 

We were eventually beaten 4-3 on penalties after holding the Cobblers to a 1-1 draw in 90 minutes - but we showed great maturity and defended valiantly throughout. 

We spoke to Clarke after the game - and this is what he said: 

on the overall performance… 
I thought we did really well. Obviously we took the lead and up until they scored that unfortunate goal, we did really well. There’s not much you can do about those goals which is part of the disappointment. But I think overall we did well to fight it out for a draw, it shows the boys’ character and determination. We were unlucky to lose on penalties, but overall I think we did well.

on our defensive organisation…
It was tough. They played a big No 9 up top and we’ve never really played against players like that. They were mainly looking to play long balls straight into the striker and I’ve never had that, so it was nice to play against that. It was a good test for me. I felt like I dealt with it well and the defence was good.

on how the physicality compares to youth football…
At under-18 level you never get anyone that big! Last year I was always looking to step in and I was comfortable winning headers, whereas in this game I had to change the way I play and while I could compete, I couldn’t guarantee that I’d always win it so I needed to change my game. 

on the experience of playing against Rob Holding last week - and how it will help him going forward…
Rob’s a top bloke and he really helped me during the game (against Everton). He’s confident and talks well and during the game gives me little tips about how I can improve and what I can do. I look up to him and I want to be where he is one day. 

on the motivation to win each of our next two group stage games…
I think initially everybody was disappointed in there, but we took the lead, did well and it was unfortunate that Tobi was sent off. The goal was a frustrating one because there wasn’t much we could do about it, it’s a good finish from the lad. The boys were brave for taking their penalties, so fair play to them.

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