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The proof is in the playing

Posted on 9 July 2000  - 12:00

English Barclays Premiership

Stephen Clemence is ready to prove himself all over again. The young midfielder did just that with some excellent displays last season and took massive strides in showing everyone that he was worth his place in the side at the Lane.

After a disastrous, injury-affected pre-season, the 22-year-old finally fought his way back into first-team plans in October. He went from strength to strength in extended spells in the team in January and February and at the end of the season.

Performances in big wins at home against Arsenal and Liverpool were particularly impressive. But Clemence knows last season counts for nothing come the big kick-off on August 19.

The former England Under-21 star declared: "It doesn't matter who you are, whether you are a youngster coming through the ranks or a L3m signing, you are always trying to prove you are worth a place in the side and that you deserve to keep that place. That is the game we are in.

"I feel that I came on quite a lot last season and finally showed people what I can really do. I have to keep improving and hopefully I can stay in and around the squad.

"For the last three seasons I've been in and around the first team, coming off the bench, playing in little spurts, a couple of matches here and there. So to play eight or nine on the spin a couple of times, which I did last season, was great. I'd like to think I could do that again."

Photographs courtesy of Action Images Ltd.

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