Jake Clarke-Salter has reached the stage that all Chelsea Loan Army warriors reach sooner or later, decision-time.
A week shy of his 22nd birthday and now on his fourth loan, the center back is looking to move on to the next phase of his career, be that at Chelsea or wherever else. He’s targeted a career at the very top end of the game, and knows that in order to accomplish that, he cannot let his career stagnate for too long, if at all.
“I’m 21 years old now and, obviously, to keep going on loan as you get older is probably not idea. It’s time to kick on.”
“I need to play as many games as possible at a high and consistent level now. That’s my major aim this season. I need to show I have the physicality to play in the Premier League. If I can do that, who knows what the future holds. My main objective is to be a Premier League player.”
Born in South London and with Chelsea since before age 10, Clarke-Salter impressed his way up through the Academy ranks while taking on leadership roles, including at youth national team level with England. He first tested the waters with loans to Bristol Rovers in the third division and an historically tragic Sunderland season in the Championship, before putting together a solid year at Vitesse last season. Now with Birmingham City in the Championship once again, he’s been restricted to just one start, in the League Cup, with zero minutes in league play.
Not that he needs any extra motivation to keep going and fighting for his spot.
“I’ve been at a few loan clubs. Last season being in Holland and now Birmingham. It’s nice to experience different areas and different cultures but I’m a London boy so being away from home from about 18 can be difficult at times.”
“Things weren’t easy growing, it was very difficult at times, but it’s definitely made me able to keep a level head. Football has helped my family and so, for that, I’m very grateful. It’s something that always gives me extra motivation.”
With three years left on his contract at Chelsea, he does need to rush any decisions, and could yet keep the Chelsea dream alive — even if that may be looking less and less likely, especially after the summer of youth revolution just ended.
“I’d be silly to say I wouldn’t want to be in the position where I could play for Chelsea. Anyone would. It’s very hard to have patience at times, but you have to understand that there are world-class players at Chelsea. You learn to appreciate that.”
-Jake Clarke-Salter; source: Independent
Whether at Chelsea, or somewhere else, we can only wish the best of luck to him. Good luck, Jake!