Grace Clinton: A rising star turning heads with Tottenham

BIRKENHEAD, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 04: Grace Clinton of Tottenham Hotspur, 2024 in Birkenhead, England. (Photo by Jess Hornby/Getty Images)

Grace Clinton, at only 20 years of age, is becoming a player to watch in the Women’s Super League. Her dominant and adept performances in midfield have impressed so far in her football journey, and her confidence only appears to be growing.

Receiving her first senior England call-up before Christmas, she has the potential to be a regular at St George’s Park if she continues to shine for Tottenham Hotspur. 

Clinton’s rise into the spotlight

At the age of 12, Clinton began her journey to professional football as an Everton academy player. Shortly after securing a win on her WSL debut, she signed her first professional contract in spring 2021. However, in the 2022/23 WSL season, a new opportunity arose for the youngster. Her dreams of becoming a professional footballer were secured when she was approached by Manchester United. 

Despite making a name for herself there, she was loaned out to Bristol City for the second half of the season. The Championship side then won the league and were promoted to the WSL. Clinton’s dominance and strength in midfield made her a force to be reckoned with. Scoring six goals in 15 appearances for the Robins, she played a key role in their progression to the top flight. 

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The following season (2023/24), Clinton was set for a new challenge as she joined Tottenham Hotspur on loan. Since the move, her recognition in the women’s game has only grown. During 12 WSL appearances with the club so far, she has bagged four spectacular goals and two assists. Two of these even received nominations for Goal of the Month.

She has also received several Player of the Match awards. Having already earned herself a spot in Robert Vilahamn’s (head coach, Tottenham Hotspur) starting eleven, only time will tell what else is in store for this young superstar.

How has Grace Clinton caught the eye of Sarina Wiegman?

As an England youth player, Clinton made her international debut as an U17. However, her current form in North London has not only impressed Vilahamn but also Sarina Wiegman. As a frequent winner of the UEFA Women’s Coach of the Year award, she clearly has an eye for talent.

The final camps of 2023 saw Clinton receive her first senior call-up, amongst a talented group of players. Since her move to North London, her sheer strength and determination have proved herself worthy of this new challenge. In a recent press conference, Vilahamn even expressed that Clinton will be starting as a number ten for England in the future.

Yet, she currently takes on the number eight role at Spurs, commanding the left side of the field. Her versatility makes her an excellent choice for Wiegman. If she continues to perform at this level, she will be unstoppable.

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Since her unexpected call-up, Clinton will undoubtedly have her sights set on her senior debut. Her confidence and technique will only thrive, especially if she maintains her place in Wiegman’s elite side. Surrounded by world-class players, she can only develop as a footballer, learning from the very best in the game. But, with minutes on the pitch comes experience; joining Spurs opened the door to her international dream.

What does the future hold for Grace Clinton?

Although she is experiencing the best spell in her career, Clinton must maintain her focus and hard work. The new signings for Spurs — Charlotte Grant, Amanda Nildén, and Mathilda Vinberg — pose a threat to her spot in the starting 11 if the manager opts for a reshuffle.

As an attacking midfielder, Clinton needs to uphold her reputation as a force to be reckoned with. She plays with confidence on the ball, has good communication, and is driven to race forward. Therefore, she perfectly fits the new style of attacking play from defensive positions at Spurs, favoured by Vilahamn. Clinton deserves these minutes on the pitch to fulfill her full potential.

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However, there is another uncertainty surrounding the youngster. It remains unclear where she will be playing once the WSL season draws to a close this May. Whether Clinton will return to Manchester United, decide to remain at Spurs permanently, or be scouted by another well-established club is still up for debate.

After her clinical performance against West Ham in January, Vilahamn implied interest in signing the midfielder permanently, but only time will tell what her future holds. Regardless, Clinton is a young superstar and a player to watch this season. She certainly contributes to Tottenham Hotspur’s mid-table stance in the WSL, thanks to her consistency and clinical finishes.   

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