Football News

Why EFL loan rules could leave Spurs’ Jack Clarke short of game time at Leeds

By Steve Jennings

Published: 18:02, 20 August 2019 | Updated: 8:41, 19 December 2022

The EFL loan rules could be preventing Tottenham Hotspur starlet Jack Clarke from getting valuable game time at Leeds United this season.

Clarke is yet to play a single minute of Championship football this term, having to settle for 70 minutes in the EFL Cup against League Two side Salford City.

Are the EFL loan rules thwarting Clarke’s game time? Five key things to know…

  • Clarke signed for Spurs in July but returned to Leeds on loan.
  • He is yet to make a Championship appearance this season.
  • EFL rules state that only five loan players can be included in the matchday squad.
  • Leeds currently have six loan players at the club.
  • Bringing Helder Costa’s permanent switch forward is a potential solution.

The 18-year-old joined Spurs for £10m in July, immediately returning to Leeds on a season-long loan.

However, Marcelo Bielsa is yet to use Clarke in the league, a decision that could be down to the EFL’s loan regulations.

In the Football League, a maximum of five loan players can be included in the matchday squad. The rule reads as follows:

A maximum of 5 Players registered on a Temporary Loan Transfer can be named in the Players listed on a team sheet for any individual match played under the auspices of The League. This maximum shall reduce to 4 Players where a Club names a Player on the team sheet who is registered on an Emergency Goalkeeper Loan.

Leeds currently have six senior players at the club on loan, including Manchester City’s Jack Harrison and Arsenal’s Eddie Nketiah.

If all of those players, except Clarke, are included in the matchday squad, Bielsa does not have room for the Spurs loanee.

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A solution for Clarke, Spurs and Leeds?

Another EFL rule states that loan deals can be made permanent at any time if agreed between the two clubs. It reads:

Temporary Loan Transfers may include an option to acquire the Player’s registration by way of permanent transfer. Any such option can be exercised at any time (including during a Closed Period).

Helder Costa is on a season-long loan from Wolves but will join permanently next summer. With that switch already agreed, there is a chance Leeds will be able to bring a permanent transfer forward.

If that happened, Clarke would have a better chance of being included in the squad as the fifth loan player.

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has a close relationship with Bielsa, so talks between the clubs over one solution or another are likely to happen if Spurs perceive Clarke’s lack of game time as a major problem.