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Former Shrewsbury Town striker lauds signing of Leon Clarke

Former Shrewsbury Town striker Dean Edwards has lauded the signing of experienced striker Leon Clarke.

The 35-year-old finally completed his protracted transfer to Shrewsbury Town on Friday and made his debut off the bench in the 1-1 draw against Plymouth.

Clarke brings with him a wealth of experience including a recent Premier League spell with Sheffield United. He also has Championship appearances on his CV with the likes of QPR, Sheffield Wednesday, Wolves, and Wigan.

Town are Clarke’s 18th club as a professional. He has amassed over half a century of games to date – scoring 151 times.

Former Shrewsbury, AFC Telford, Wolves, and VPS striker Dean Edwards, believes the signing of Leon Clarke is a good piece of business.

He told Shropshire Live: “I think it a shrewd signing. I think he will be a revelation considering his age, and I back him to score a few goals and lead the frontline well.

“His experience will be invaluable to all of the younger lads around him. He is also a figurehead that opposing teams will watch out for that might give players like Dan (Udoh) a bit more freedom for space which will inevitably lead to more goals.

“Sam (Ricketts) will be quietly pleased at the business done for getting Leon to the club. I believe it will bolster the attack immensely and goals will now start to come.

“With Leon up front and holding the ball up better, Shrewsbury can go forward with more confidence now.”

Clarke is known as a somewhat controversial character. During his first period at Wolves, he angered a section of supporters by gesturing toward them after scoring against Plymouth in January 2006.

Whilst celebrating a goal he scored at Sheffield Wednesday, he kicked an advertising hoarding and subsequently broke his toe.

He is said to have forced a return move to Wolves when at Coventry City by handing a transfer request and citing a foot injury for his refusal to play.

And as a Swindon player, he had an on-the-pitch confrontation with fitness coach Claudio Donatelli. When manager Paulo Di Canio intervened, the television cameras caught the duo arguing.

But Edwards believes that Clarke can be a success at Town despite his checkered past: “I think if the manager has got the know-how to manage these types of players, then it’s a win win for the club.

“It’s not far from home (Clarke is Birmingham born) so maybe he will be more settled. On the flip side, it could cause problems.

“It’s down to Leon really. He is 35 now, the dreaded retirement is fast approaching. He needs to savour every game as if its his last, very soon it’s going to be.

“If he wants to know what retirement is like, ask any old pro. It’s the worst time of their lives. So my message to Leon is: get your shooting boots on, keep yourself fit, and stay in the game as long as you can.”

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