Noel Whelan has been left buzzing after seeing Jack Clarke establish himself as part of the first-team squad at Tottenham.

The former Leeds striker, speaking exclusively toΒ Football InsiderΒ assistant editor Russell Edge, admitted he thought the 20-year-old looked “certain for the exit” door after a frustrating first season on loan at both Leeds and QPR.

Clarke came off the bench with 20 minutes left against Ludogorets to make just his second Spurs appearance on Thursday, while he was videoed at the heart of an indoor cricket match at Spurs’ training ground with some of Tottenham’s top stars.

Clarke played just 10 times across all competitions while with Leeds and QPR last season after making a Β£10million move to Spurs.

Whelan revealed he feared for the youngster’s future and suggested the chance to train and play at his parent club has done him the world of good.

Whelan told Football Insider: “We did worry. When he’s gone out on loan, when he came back to Leed, he wasn’t playing, he didn’t look the same player.

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“Then he went to QPR, probably even worse loan than it was at Leeds, then we didn’t know where he was going to be – was he gonna go back out on loan? No. I think they’ve given him an opportunity, they’re trying to progress him as a football player.

“They’ve given him the opportunity in the first team on Thursday and for once he’s taken it. I think he’s taken it, I think he’s taken it on board.

“I think it does make a difference when you’ve signed for a club and you do spend a bit of time there, rather than be loaned down straight away, you do feel more part of the furniture and part of the team and the squad.

“It will bring the best out of him because he’s playing against better players week in, week out and learning the style of play that Jose Mourinho wants.

“Another great turnaround, Ndombele, you look at Jack Clarke – two players that looked certain for the exit door. Now, very much in the plans.”

In other Tottenham news, it can be REVEALED Spurs have made contact over a potential move for Premier League striker.