Matthew Clarke joined Derby County on a season-long loan deal from Premier League side Brighton & Hove Albion in the summer of 2019.
His addition further added to the options that manager Phillip Cocu will be able to call upon at the heart of the Rams’ backline and he went on to make his debut on the opening day of the 2019/20 season as Derby ran out 2-1 winners at Huddersfield Town.
Clarke began his career with Ipswich Town and came through the youth ranks at Portman Road. He made his professional debut in August 2014, in the EFL Cup against Crawley Town, before signing his first professional contract a month later.
The defender then linked up with Portsmouth, then in League 2, on loan in August 2015 to gain further first-team experience and he went on to spend the entire 2015/16 campaign at Fratton Park, before signing on a permanent basis in the summer of 2016.
Clarke was an influential figure in the Portsmouth side that claimed the League 2 title in 2016/17, with the defender making 36 appearances in all competitions as they recorded the best defensive record in the division.
He, and Pompey, quickly adapted to life in League 1 as they finished in 8th place in 2017/18. Portsmouth went one step further in 2018/19 as they claimed a top six spot and reached the play-off semi-finals, while they were also the winners of the Checkatrade Trophy Final against Sunderland at Wembley Stadium.
Clarke’s performances and influence, despite his young age, saw him wear the captain’s armband for Pompey and he began to attract interest from clubs in the Premier League.
His move to the top-flight was secured early in the summer of 2019 as he became Graham Potter’s first signing at Brighton & Hove Albion for an undisclosed fee.