The 18-year-old wasn’t going to get much-needed playing minutes at North London, hence Spurs’ decision to let him remain at Elland Road in order for his steady development to continue.
Leeds are currently top of the Championship table following three victories and a draw, but Clarke has had no hand in their impressive start so far, missing out entirely of manager Marcelo Bielsa’s last two matchday squads against Brentford and Wigan Athletic.
The teenager was an unused sub against Bristol City and Nottingham Forest, and while his chances will eventually come, the EFL loan rule is currently threatening to impede Tottenham’s £10 million summer investment.
The EFL rule allows only five loanees in a match-day squad, and Clarke has been the one to miss out in the last two games.
Leeds currently have six loan players, and it’s the young winger that is surplus to requirements among them at the moment, with Arsenal’s Eddie Nketiah, Manchester City’s Jack Harrison and Wolverhampton Wanderers’s Helder Costa all ahead of him in Bielsa’s attacking plans.
Clarke’s only senior appearance thus far this term came in last week’s League Cup clash against Salford City.
He also played all 90 minutes for Leeds’ under-23’s on Monday, but Tottenham definitely wanted more than youth team appearances for him when they allowed him remain at Elland Road.
Since making his debut last October against Brentford after coming through the West Yorkshire club’s youth system, Clarke has shown potential, making 25 appearances for the club at the end of the term.
It was one of the reasons Spurs came for his signature in the first place, but his development could be hampered until at least January due to an EFL rule nobody predicted could have seen as a potential stumbling block.