Posh chief Darragh MacAnthony: ‘Clarke-Harris was a better finisher than Ivan Toney, he’d have scored 50 goals for Sunderland, Ireland wanted him and he’s striving to get even fitter and even better’
Peterborough United chief Darragh MacAnthony has used star striker Jonson Clarke-Harris as an example of the commitment required to keep Posh in the Championship.
MacAnthony revealed on his popular ‘Hard Truth’ podcast that Clarke-Harris has been working hard on improving his fitness since the end of last season when Posh won automatic promotion from League One.
MacAnthony also described Clarke-Harris as comfortably the best player in League One and claimed he would have scored 50 goals for Sunderland in the third tier last season!
MacAnthony also lifted the lid on Posh’s pursuit of Clarke-Harris to replace star striker Ivan Toney and revealed that Ireland have checked on his eligibility to play international football for them.
“We were 15th in crossing stats last season and Jonno still scored 33 goals,” MacAnthony said. “Put him in that Sunderland team with all the crosses they deliver and he’d have scored a half century of goals!
“Jonno was comfortably the best player in League One last season. Ireland checked to seee if he had any Irish grandparents recently!
“I knew what we were getting with Jonno. We were going into last season with pretty much the same as the season before, but without Ivan and the stats told me Jonno was a 23% better finisher. I was 75% certain he would win the League One golden boot.
“There were buts as he’d never played 40 games in a season before so we had to get his body right and fair play to him he got in shape very quickly. The rest was already there. He had the right character, the right mentality and the right squad around him.
“But Jonno is not resting on his laurels. He’s been cycling 13 miles a day in order to get fitter. We might play a pressing game next season and Jonno has never had to do that, so he’s taken it on himself to get in even better shape. That’s the sort of commitment I want to see.”
Clarke-Harris scored 31 League One goals last season - five more than any other player - and started 45 League One matches. He only missed the final game of the season at Doncaster when he was rested.
Posh paid Bristol Rovers around £1 million for Clarke-Harris last summer. He does not qualify to play for Ireland.