Rotherham United

Trevor Clarke has always looked good on the eye when given the chance for Rotherham United, but he is yet to get a run of games under Paul Warne…

After having a brief spell as an academy player for Middlesbrough, Clarke earned his first chance at playing senior football with Shamrock Rovers.

He played over 100 times for them between 2016 and 2019. His best season came in 2017 as he won the PFAI Young Player of the Year award. He stayed in Ireland until his move to Rotherham United in July 2019.

The defender had to wait to get going in a Millers shirt as he, unfortunately, injured his knee on the day he signed for the club.

This delayed his debut until October which came against Doncaster Rovers in the *fabled* EFL Trophy. He made a great impact off the bench as he got the assist and the winning goal to help Rotherham beat their rivals 3-2.

His debut for the Millers had the potential to really push him onto bigger and better things. Sadly, it has not quite worked out like that.

Before the 2019/20 League One season was curtailed, Clarke only managed to play ten times across all competitions. Of these, only five were starts and he only completed 90 minutes on one occasion.

The Irishman looked to have put his injuries behind him as he and his Rotherham teammates geared up for the 2020/21 Championship season.

Clarke shone during pre-season and Millers boss Paul Warne even suggested that he had been one of their best performing players during those weeks.

But once again, injuries got in the way of his progress. He picked up a calf injury on international duty for the Republic of Ireland U21s. This kept him out of the first eleven Championship games of the season.

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When he returned, he looked like a prime contender to play at left-back for the South Yorkshire outfit. On paper at least, his hopes of playing would have been boosted further when Joe Mattock picked up an injury of his own.

Instead, Ben Wiles, Wes Harding and Ryan Giles have all been selected ahead of him. Clarke has only started once in the Championship this season. This came against QPR in November, and even then he was taken off at half time.

The 23-year-old was left out of Rotherham’s 20-man squad for their weekend draw against Huddersfield Town. Warne told the Rotherham Advertiser’s Paul Davis after the match that Clarke was “upset” to have been left out:

“It was just down to the number of bodies,” Warne said. “I packed the bench with attacking players. It’s hard for Trev. I feel for him. He was a bit upset when I told him and I understand why.

“We (the staff) talked for a while about who we were going to leave off the bench. I wanted Chieo (Chiedozie Ogbene) there. Sads (Kieran Sadlier) has been brilliant in training. I can’t even get Sads on the pitch, which is a bit harsh.

“Like with Flo (Florian Jozefzoon), they’re good attacking options. I had two centre mids and two strikers on the bench as well. It was a difficult one. I didn’t want to leave anyone off but it was my decision not to include Trev.”

Does Trevor Clarke have a future at Rotherham United?

For one reason or another, Clarke’s move to Rotherham United has just not worked out. Taking the injuries out of it, having watched him so far, I’m not sure why that is.

Clarke has always been a player who has impressed me. He looks really dangerous going forward and from the little that we have seen of him, he looks steady as a defender as well.

When Rotherham switched to a 3-5-2 set-up, like most Millers fans, I expected Clarke to get a good run of games.

In the defence of Harding and Wiles, they have both done really well and have not let anyone down.

But as evidenced by the weekend draw to Huddersfield, while Wiles is versatile, he is far better off being operated in central midfield.

It is unclear whether Warne and co fully trust Clarke defensively. Yet you would expect him to get at least one start during this hectic run of games before the end of the season.

Hopefully, he can impress and make it so he has to play again. He clearly has a lot of talent at his disposal. But if he does not feature much before the summer, you have to feel that he is likely to leave before next season.

If that is the case, we would just hope that he does not prove to be another player who fulfils his potential once he leaves Rotherham…

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