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Clarke Wins Scholar Award

James Clarke is top Clarets' scholar as Conor Mitchell also wins PL prize

18 May 2018

James Clarke has capped an outstanding season by being named the Clarets’ Scholar of the Year.

Clarke was chosen by Burnley’s Academy staff and received his prize at the Premier League's Youth Development Conference at Molineux, where the top scholar from each club was honoured.

“When I got my pro contract I said it couldn’t get much better, but it has with this,” said the 18-year-old who signed his first professional deal at Turf Moor in April.

“It’s nice to be recognised for the hard work you put in and hopefully I can kick on again next season and win something else.

“I’ll have a little bit of a rest now for a few weeks but I can’t wait for next season.

“I’ve played a lot of the under-23s this season but it will be great to come back and to be properly part of that group.”

Warrington-based Clarke joined the Clarets as a 14-year-old before earning a two-year scholarship in 2016.

James Clarke (right) and Dwight McNeil both signed professional deals

And after playing regularly for the youth team, the right-sided defender was promoted to the under-23 ranks under Michael Duff last season and also won a first cap at under-18 level for the Republic of Ireland.

Clarke captained the Clarets in their final under-23 fixture at Rangers earlier this month but also received the award in recognition of his approach to his off-the-field duties.

Academy manager Jonathan Pepper said: “His commitment to his strength and conditioning work, recovery and nutrition programmes are outstanding, alongside his education.

“He has gone the extra mile in his education programme by completing the additional units required for the extended diploma in Sporting Excellence.

“This is no mean feat when he has been involved in the heavy U23 schedule and international call-ups. 

“James has pushed himself in every area of his programme which has resulted in him making massive progress on the field, as well as developing brilliant personal skills off the field that have made him a person to be proud of.”

Clarets goalkeeper Conor Mitchell was also a winner after receiving the award for save of the season in the U23 Professional Development League.

A save Mitchell made against Sheffield United topped a poll of votes on the night of the awards, with Adam Bruce also having an effort short-listed in the U18 league.


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