After spells in the left midfield and left wing-back positions, Clem finally found the niche in the team he really wanted last season — in the thick of the action in central midfield.
He was a model of consistency, a major plus point in a difficult season, Stephen stayed fit and even had to take on the mantle of senior pro at times as the youngsters were drafted into the team to cover for injuries.
But for the next campaign, the queue for central midfield berths already looks to be lengthening. Gus Poyet has signed in to battle for places with Tim Sherwood, Oyvind Leonhardsen, Simon Davies, Ledley King, Steffen Freund and Stephen himself.
Add the that the suggestion that Darren Anderton also wishes to be considered a central midfield option and they’ve all got a battle on their hands to impress Glenn sufficiently in pre-season to take the field on day one.
Clem is not fazed by the prospect of intense competition for places.
“I’ve had that competition since I’ve been here and since I first played in the first team at the age of 19,” reflected Clem.
“More players will mean more competition for places, but if the club wants to be back up at the top that’s what we’ve got to do. If more players come in then they will be players I can learn from.
“You have to look at it positively. There probably will be some good players coming in but I will give it my best shot and try and compete for my place.”
Stephen Clemence is ready and waiting to take up the challenge of securing a first team place in midfield next season, but accepts that competition for places is going to be fierce — and good for the club.