Glenavon's international bright young thing Josh Clarke explains his continental call-ups

Michael Scott

Reporter:

Michael Scott

Email:

michael.scott@yourlurgan.com

Have you heard the one about the goalkeeper who has played for Sweden, England, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland?

That’s the story of Glenavon’s new goalkeeper, Josh Clarke. The 17-year-old joined the Lurgan Blues just in time for Saturday’s crunch game with Ballymena United.

“It’s a little bit of an odd one,” he conceded while speaking to the Glenavon Media Team.

“My mum is from Stockholm so I played for Sweden when I was a little bit younger. We played two games against Finland and Norway, which was my first taste of international football when I was about 15 or 16.

“During the COVID year England came up, which was a really good opportunity.

“For the Republic of Ireland we played a game against Hungary and then I made my international decision, if you like.

“I had a number of conversations with Gerard Lyttle and Roy Carroll and around September time I decided to play for Northern Ireland.

“We’ve had two games for the U19s, against the Faroe Islands and the Czech Republic in October and then I was just recently away with the senior team, which was an amazing experience.”

Clarke was on the bench for Northern Ireland’s recent friendly against Luxembourg and trained with the squad ahead of the game against Hungary.

“I can’t thank Ian Baraclough and Roy Carroll enough for bringing me into the Northern Ireland team,” he said.

“For me, just to experience that and see what it’s like at a senior international level as a 17-year-old is fantastic.

“Going forward, if I ever get a chance to experience something like that again, hopefully I’ll be prepared for it. To hear the fans at Windsor Park and to be on the bench against Luxembourg was such an experience.”

Glenavon had been left short of a shot-stopper following James Taylor’s dismissal in their previous game against Coleraine.

Formerly of Bournemouth, he certainly impressed on what was his senior debut, putting in an outstanding performance during their 3-1 win and saving a penalty in the second half.

“At the time I thought he was going to go across his body, [Millar] is quite a strong lad so I thought he might try and put it in that corner, so I dummied one way and went the other,” Clarke explained.

“I was pleased to make the save and help the team.

“The lads did really well and we scored two great goals towards the end.

“It was my first senior men’s game so I’m delighted that it’s gone so well and I have to say thanks to the fans for welcoming me.

“Everyone has been really helpful, particularly Gary and all the lads, I can’t thank everyone enough for my welcome.”

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