Peter Clark, Everton career - 25/07/2003
Those who watch the Everton reserves have long considered Peter Clarke to be one of our most promising prospects in the current produce from the Everton youth system. A graduate of the FA's National School of Excellence at Lilleshall, Peter joined Everton as a 16-year-old in September 1998.
Having captained England at U-16 level and helped the England U-16s reach the Quarter Finals of the European U-16 Championship, Clarke went on to captain his country at U-17, U-18 and U-19 levels.
He was a key player in Everton's Youth Cup team that went all the way to the semi-final stage in 1999. His progress through the junior teams was rapid too: playing in the Under-17s, Under-19s, and Reserves in his first season.
In the 1999-2000 season, he performed well for both the Under-19s and the Reserves/Under-21s, that he earned a promotion to the first team squad but he didn't make his first senior appearance until the following season when he came on as a substitute against Coventry City in a 3-1 win.
Everton's continuing injury nightmare in 2001-02, coupled with the departure of Abel Xavier in January 2002, gave Peter the chance to make his full debut in a 0-0 draw at Aston Villa, a game in which he earned rave reviews for a solid performance.
Tipped for big things, Clarkey was thought to have done enough to become a regular in the Everton first team squad but he failed to meet the higher standards required by new manager David Moyes, and the next stage of his development was a loan spell at Second Division Blackpool, where he scored two goals on his home debut.
Clarke's only senior game under Moyes in the 2002-03 season was the ill-fated FA Cup tie at Shrewsbury. That was followed later by another three months at Port Vale but he was recalled as cover for David Weir, who was suspended for the last two games of David Moyes's excellent first full season in charge at Goodison Park.
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