Press article:

Clarke's Blues Bonus - 10/09/2003

Clarke's Blues Bonus
Everton action

PETER CLARKE reminded club boss David Moyes of his potential last night - with a towering performance for his country.

Everton's young defender produced an excellent performance in England under-21s' 2-1 defeat against Portugal, under the admiring eye of Moyes.

It was Clarke's first appearance at Goodison Park for 18 months, and Moyes said: "I thought he did well last night and has done well pre-season for us.

"The way things are at the moment we have Alan Stubbs, David Weir, Joseph Yobo and Peter.

Centre-half is his position - and I would have no qualms whatsoever about using him there.

"He has had spells on-loan, but that doesn't mean we are trying to offload him. I am not keen to see any of our young players leave.

"But as a manager of a football club I have a responsibility to get footballers playing football matches, in a first team if possible, and if that means players going out on-loan so be it."

Clarke has made only nine starts for Everton since his debut at Coventry in January 2001 - and only two in his favoured central defensive berth.

But Moyes added: "We see him play in that position for the reserves all the time and in training every day, so we know what he can do there."

Moyes was also impressed by the sharpness of striker Francis Jeffers, but admits he hasn 't decided yet whether he will start against Newcastle on Saturday. Jeffers' chances depend on how Wayne Rooney comes through tonight's England international at Old Trafford.

Richard Wright is winning his race for fitness, but Alan Stubbs is receiving treatment for a groin strain.

"Richard has done well in training and has a chance," said Moyes.

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