Crysencio Summerville’s pre-season strikes a chord with Jack Clarke’s Leeds United rise – Beren Cross

Decisions on loan exits at Leeds United, like most Premier League clubs, can drag on late into a summer transfer window.

That is largely because managers and head coaches want more time to take stock of what they have, get all their own business done and work out who is surplus to immediate requirements.

It can also be because pre-season is, with some senior stars returning late, a major opportunity for fringe players to prove their worth and show they can make the grade.

Bielsa is very open-minded when it comes to players’ potential at Thorp Arch. He likes to take stock of what he has and look at who should be incorporated into his senior group.

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The best of the under-23 cohort typically stick around Thorp Arch, but as Cambuur, of the Dutch top flight, sniff around Crysencio Summerville it’s clear to see why there might be a temptation to give the youth more top-level experience in his homeland.

That was before this pre-season schedule got underway and before Summerville again demonstrated what a prospect he could be at Elland Road.

If Bielsa was open to Summerville getting experience elsewhere coming into this summer, the performances in the friendlies must have the Argentine thinking again.

Of course, it’s only two games against Guiseley and Fleetwood Town, but there’s an entire 20/21 campaign also backing up what the tricky winger can do.

Injuries and suspensions may have aided his cause, but Summerville was still rated highly enough by Bielsa to bring him onto the bench towards the end of last season.

Summerville is guaranteed a starring role in Premier League 2 with the Whites if he sticks around, but Bielsa may have seen enough spark and flair to believe there may be a supporting role to play in the first team.

Summerville’s rise has coincided with a challenging period for Ian Poveda and Helder Costa as two wingers thought to be higher up the pecking order.

While Costa remains with the senior group this summer, Poveda dropped down to the under-23s side with Adam Forshaw last week at Fleetwood Town.

There is a debate to be had on the wingers, including Summerville, few expected heading into the new season.

There was a similar rise with another young winger under Bielsa’s watchful eye. Jack Clarke had torn under-23 defences to bits and ultimately earned his chance under Bielsa in 2018.

Clarke was 17 when he came on at home to Brentford in October of that year. There would be 11 appearances from the bench in the first half of that season before his full league debut.

That Friday night at home to Derby County, the immediate riposte to Spygate, will always be remembered as the night Clarke went mainstream in front of a national TV audience.

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Ultimately, it was his collapse at Middlesbrough in February 2019 which put pay to any of the momentum Clarke hoped to carry into the summer and beyond.

Time will tell what career Clarke makes for himself after that big-money move to Tottenham Hotspur, but the hallmarks of his Leeds breakthrough can be seen in Summerville’s trajectory.

Bielsa has shown countless times how he trusts youth. If they are good enough, they are old enough. Like most young players, Clarke was inconsistent, but there was more than enough on show from an 18-year-old to reassure Bielsa of what Summerville may be capable of.

Nobody is expecting Summerville to become a first-team regular, but this pre-season spurt from the 19-year-old has underlined why a loan exit may be a touch too hasty.

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