Hearts have completed the signing of former Sheffield Wednesday midfielder Sean Clare. Finlay Greig finds out more about Hearts’ 18th signing of the season...
Made by Nike
Sean Clare started his football career with the Nike Academy, a revolving squad of under-20 players without a club.
The academy have helped find professional clubs since 2009 with notable alumni including Celtic’s Tom Rogic and Santos FC’s Bruno Covas - not bad company.
In 2016, the then 19-year-old was picked up by Sheffield Wednesday who signed him on an initial one-year contract.
First name on the team sheet
During a loan spell with League One outfit Gillingham, Clare made a big impression.
Fans and coaches praised the youngster for his exciting style of play and his professionalism during his 26-match spell at the Priestfield Stadium.
Speaking to Kent Online last year, Gills manager Steve Lovell revealed that the loanee was among the first names on the team sheet during his spell.
He said: “He can run, he can move, he can read the game well and has great feet. He showed that on Saturday (against Bury) and was one of our better players, consistently, in the 90 minutes.
“Sean is one of the first names down on the team sheet every week and if he keeps playing like he is doing, then that will continue to be the case.”
Energetic and athletic
Sean Clare made a handful of appearances for the Owls’ first team, including an eye-catching performance against Aston Villa capped off with a stunning edge-of-box half volley.
Pacey and skilful with an imposing 6 ft 3 frame Clare certainly stands out from the crowd.
In his own words he loves “being on the ball” and “being able to dribble but moving it when I need to.
“[I’m] someone who’s quite exciting for the fans to watch, I feel. “ he said
“It can be quite fun to watch me when I’m in full flow, but someone who will always give 100 per cent and has passion to win games, win trophies, win leagues and give everything for the team, the fans and the people managing me.”
During the Summer transfer window Clare rejected a contract extension with Sheffield Wednesday resulting in a flurry of interest from a number of English clubs.
Speaking to Hearts TV the new signing revealed that: “There was interest in England, from the Premier League and the Championship.”
Clubs who were reportedly interested in the 21-year-old include Leeds United, Swansea City, Aston Villa and Premier League club Fulham.
Despite making just 44 career appearances, Clare has operated in six different positions.
The bulk of his appearances have come at right midfield, but he was deployed five times at right back during his spell at Gillingham, notching an assist in a 1-1 draw with Wigan in October last year.
The Gills were unbeaten with Clare in the defence, winning three and drawing twice.
Clare has also operated at left midfield, attacking midfield, central midfield and defensive midfield and his versatility is likely one of the many factors that attracted Craig Levein to the 21-year-old.