Sheffield United's former Liverpool forward Jess Clarke insists she has no point to prove to old club
Sheffield United forward Jess Clarke insists the only person she has a point to prove to against former club Liverpool this weekend is herself.
The former England international, now 32, who spent four years on Merseyside before leaving the club this summer and joining the Blades, is set for a quick reunion with her former side at Bramall Lane on Saturday (3pm kick-off).
The full-time Reds were tipped for promotion last season following their relegation from the Women’s Super League, but eventually finished third.
Clarke admits she underachieved personally, as well as the team.
Asked, therefore, if she has a point to prove, “probably not” is her reply.
Clarke adds: "To myself? Probably yeah because I want to show people I’m back fit.
“My injury kept me from excelling. Now I’m in a good place and there’s light at the end of the tunnel.”
The injury Leeds-based Clarke speaks of concerned her knee and plagued her for three years.
At one point she was told it may not be possible to return to playing.
But since her arrival in South Yorkshire she has quickly established herself as an important player in Neil Redfearn’s team – and scored her first goal for the club during an impressive win over league leaders Durham on her home debut.
“My mindset was I still want to play,” Clarke adds, “I have still got a lot to give.
"He (Redfearn) made my decision coming to this club. He’s a fantastic manager.
"We are not full time, we have got girls that are working, but still Neil competes every year and gets the best out of the players.”
Sheffield United Women look set to break the record for their highest-ever attendance this weekend as the drive to grow the women’s game continues.
Clarke has represented her country at a World Cup and earned a full-time living from football, but now balances it with youth work.
Does such a talented player wish she could have her time again as things take off?
"When I look back I feel that was the right time for me,” she says.
"I’m glad I was a part of the journey of putting football on the map for women.
"I would love to be younger but at the same time I wouldn’t change my journey.”