THE Coventy lad was awarded a first-team squad number for the 2008/09 Championship campaign in the same year he was taken on by the club as a first-year Academy apprentice.
The pacy right-back captained the Academy Under 16 side in 2007/08 and was also involved in an England training camp the same year.
His quest for a career as a professional received a further boost in the 2008/09 season when he was involved with the first team on a match day, earning a place on the bench as an unused substitute for the Sky Blues' ill-fated Carling Cup clash with Newcastle United.
Clarke finally made his league debut for the club though on the opening day of the 2008/09 season, coming on as a substitute in the 2-0 win over Ipswich Town at the Ricoh Arena.
Clarke then went on to make his full debut in the next game, a 1-0 Carling Cup defeat at home to Hartlepool before gaining a further six starts and six substitute appearances for the Sky Blues in 2009/10.
The youngster enjoyed his most fruitful season in a City shirt in 2010/11 though, making 22 first team appearances and scoring his first goal, a superb half volley in a 3-0 win over Barnsley at the Ricoh in October 2010 as well as making an appearance for the England Under 20s.