Josh Clarke admitted he was pleasantly surprised by the amount of minutes he played during a breakthrough season which helped The Bees to another top ten finish in the Sky Bet Championship.
The 22-year-old made 32 appearances in all competitions last season, 30 of them in the league, and netted his first Brentford goal in the win over Reading back in September. After spending three months of the 2015/16 season on loan at League Two side Barnet, Josh said he never expected to come back and have as much of an impact at Griffin Park as he did.
“Most definitely it’s been my breakthrough year,” said Josh, speaking to iFollow Brentford after the end of the season. “At the start of the season I wasn’t sure if I was going to play or not but due to hard work I started playing. It was a shock to look back and see how many games I had played. I didn’t picture it but it has been a good and comfortable season for me. I still have to improve as there’s a lot more to come from me which is the main thing.”
The Academy graduate spent time playing at both right-back and right-wing last season, sharing playing time with Maxime Colin and Jota. Josh doesn’t feel the two positions are very different for him, especially with his license to get forward from defence.
“It is the same really,” said Josh. “As a right-back I like to go forward and I can defend as well but I don’t really mind. As long as I am playing and I am giving it my all then that is what matters. If I am playing at right-back then I like to get forward. Playing with Jota gives me the license to get forward as he cuts inside quite a lot.”
The Bees ended the season by winning six of their last nine games to ensure a third consecutive top ten finish in the second tier. Josh believes that strong end to the season gives them hope of a Play-Off finish next season, especially with Dean Smith, Richard O’Kelly, and Thomas Frank getting the best out of them.
“You can see in our performances that we are getting better,” said Josh. “We pass and we move so well, especially at home, that we destroy teams. As everyone improves we will become a better squad. After another top ten finish then we will be pushing for the top six and Play-Offs next season. That will be our main aim. They are good coaches, they give you advice, and they push you. They make sure that you are working hard and doing things properly, on and off the pitch. That is what most people need. Obviously we need to do it ourselves but as long as they are reminding us and keep pushing us then things can happen.”