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Clem's waiting game

Posted on 21 September 2000  - 12:00

English Barclays Premiership

Stephen Clemence is playing the waiting game again.

The young midfielder jumped at his first chance of the season in the Worthington Cup against Brentford and was arguably our man-of-the-match at Griffin Park.

But now he has to wait and see if he has done enough to impress manager George Graham to hold onto his place for the visit of Manchester City in the Premiership on Saturday.

It's a situation Clemence has become used to. Last season he played handfuls of games here and there deputising for Steffen Freund and Tim Sherwood and later on, successfully filling in at left-back in Mauricio Taricco's absence.

In that time his honest, committed displays mixed with a fine passing game have made him a favourite with fans. Now he knows he has to take the next step and make it impossible for the management to leave him out.

Clemence admitted: "It has been frustrating because I played a lot in pre-season and thought I did okay so to have not started a game until Brentford was a little disappointing.

"Obviously I want to play regularly but at the minute I've got Tim Sherwood and Steffen Freund in front of me in my position.

"They are both very good players, both internationals and it will be tough. All I can do is keep plugging away in training, work as hard as I can and hopefully that work will pay off one day."

The 22-year-old must be doing something right though - he signed a new deal at the start of the season.

Clemence revealed: "I'm on a new three-year contract so that's all settled. I can just get on with the football now.

"I felt I had a decent season last season, had some good games, played quite a lot of games as well which was good and now it's all about getting the consistency.

"When I do play a few games on the spin, say I play five or six, I have to look to play well in four of them and just have the one bad game rather than half and half. That's what I'm aiming for now."

To listen to Stephen Clemence's thoughts, click here