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Tony Mowbray has said that Jack Clarke often switches between fantastic and anonymous

Tony Mowbray has said that Jack Clarke often switches between fantastic and anonymous. However, on Tuesday night, the Sunderland winger was more of the former than the latter, as the Black Cats gave themselves a huge boost in their playoff chances with a stunning 3-0 victory away at Queens Park Rangers.

The former Tottenham Hotspur reserve had scored only three goals at the professional level before making the permanent move to Wearside last summer. Two of them came in the 2018–19 season, his first at Leeds United and under Marcelo Bielsa.

His total for the season now stands at eight goals after a second-half brace at Loftus Road. Put it together with his seven assists, and you have a 22-year-old player for whom the light has finally gone on.

“Jack was part of the changed formation really,” Mowbray explains, Clarke thriving in a more central role at QPR. 

“We didn’t ask him to play wide and hug the touchline. We asked him to play off the shoulder of the centre-half, and try and utilise the space behind them. He can be very frustrating sometimes, Jack Clarke, but I suppose most wide-wingers can. And yet (he scored twice). So happy for him. He does work hard, he does ask lots of questions, he does want to know the answers to why he’s doing this or why we should play there. Hopefully the answers are there in front of him,” he added.

Clarke joined Championship underdogs Sunderland for a cost that, if a series of add-ons and incentives are completed, could potentially approach £10 million. He made only four appearances for Spurs, totaling 95 minutes of play.

While Clarke was annihilating QPR, his former team was struggling to score against AC Milan team that had just given up 12 goals in three games. They lost the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinal matchup 1-0 at the San Siro.

Embattled manager Antonio Conte could only wish for an attacker making the kind of performances Clarke is becoming more known for, week in and week out, with Dejan Kulusevski, Richarlison, and Heung Min-Son a shell of their former selves.

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