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Clarke: 'If I told you I've been practising them I'd be lying'

23 September 2019

Walsall defender James Clarke admitted he hasn’t been practising over-head kicks despite scoring a stunning one against Scunthorpe United on Saturday.

The defender scored the only goal of the game as the Saddlers earned their first home win of the season against the Iron at the Banks’s Stadium.

Clarke also praised midfielder Danny Guthrie for his impact in the build up to the goal but put his finish down to instinct.

“If I told you that I’ve been practising them I’d be lying so it’s instinct I guess,” Clarke said.

 “Danny’s done extremely well to get round the lad and get to the by-line and dink it in. It was a little bit behind me so opted with the foot – or the shin, and luckily it’s come off for me.”

It was only the fourth time that the 29-year-old has scored in his career having netted his first ever goal last season.

The defender revealed that he’s been given more license to go forward for set pieces which has allowed him to add goals to his game.

“I’ve also stayed at the back and never really gone up to get some headers but in the last couple of seasons the gaffer has let me go up and I’ve managed to get a few goals,” he commented.

It was also a successful day down the other end for as Clarke helped the Saddlers to their fifth clean sheet out of 10 league games.

The back-line impressed once again and Clarke was particularly impressed with how Dan Scarr and Zak Jules performed against Scunthorpe.

“I forget how young they are to be honest,” said Clarke.

“Julesy goes under the radar, I thought he was outstanding against a good winger.

“Scarrsy’s got some really good attributes, the way he attacks the ball.

“He gets up so high above everyone but I feel relatively safe with him at centre half.

“We’re constantly learning and we’re getting clean sheets.

“I think that’s the key to being successful. You can score a hat full of goals but if you’re conceding at the other end then it’s not doing you any favours but we’ve got a good solid base of defenders and it’s working for us at the back end of the pitch.”


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