City ace is ‘best English centre’ ‘here

Great performances: Jon Clarke is on the verge of his 100th appearance in rugby's Premiership.   Picture: �INPHO/Ryan Byrne
Great performances: Jon Clarke is on the verge of his 100th appearance in rugby's Premiership. Picture: �INPHO/Ryan Byrne
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WORLD Cup winner Will Greenwood believes Sheffield-born Jon Clarke is the most complete English centre in the Premiership and has a style others should emulate.

The 28-year-old has started all bar one of Northampton’s games this season and stands on the verge of a 100th appearance in England’s top tier.

Clarke, who recorded a club-high 39 hours of game time last season, is the most capped player on the Saints’ books.

Despite domestic dominance Clarke hasn’t been called upon to make his Test debut for England, with former centre Greenwood admitting he’d have been in his World Cup squad. And with Mike Tindall, Matt Banahan and Shontayne Hape failing to light up the World Cup in New Zealand, Greenwood believes England need more centres like Clarke.

“Jon was someone I’d have taken (to World Cup)” said Greenwood, who will represent the northern hemisphere at the Heroes Rugby Challenge, supported by J.P. Morgan on December 3 at Twickenham (details: www.heroesrugby.org.uk)

“He’s had some great performances this season. He’s such a strong player who looks like he could run through anyone in front of him. But he’s more than just brute force. Jon is more attacking than a lot of the other English centres around. We have a lot of good defending centres, but it’s time we showed them that there is an attacking side to the game as well. And that’s where they should follow Jon’s lead.”