Date of birth22 September 1997
Jake Clarke-Salter is a composed, ball-playing centre-back who has progressed through our Academy ranks to become an England Under-21 international. He made his senior Chelsea debut in April 2016 at Villa Park.
The Surrey-born defender spent the 2019/20 season at Championship side Birmingham City, making the loan move after signing a new Chelsea contract.
Jake joined our Academy as an Under-9 and played mostly as a defensive player in the younger age groups. Despite missing most of his Under-15 season with a serious knee injury, he made 14 appearances for the youth team while still a schoolboy in 2013/14. Most notably, he came into the FA Youth Cup side for both semi-final and final legs, playing his part as Adi Viveash’s side triumphed over Fulham.
Powerful, athletic and comfortable bringing the ball out from the back, he started his first season as a scholar at the heart of defence and as captain of Joe Edwards’s side, before progressing to make Under-19 and Under-21 debuts by January 2015. In a hugely successful season for the Academy, Clarke-Salter played in every UEFA Youth League game and all but one Youth Cup tie as we lifted both trophies in April.
He played the majority of his football with the Under-21s in 2015/16 but, still eligible for the Youth Cup, he missed just one game as we retained the trophy for a third year running. The achievement also secured a third winners medal for Jake, a remarkable achievement only matched by six others, including his teammate Jay Dasilva and five of Manchester United's Busby Babes side of the 1950s. He was also part of a formidable defence that helped our Under-19s retain their European title.
A long-term injury to Kurt Zouma in early 2016 resulted in Clarke-Salter training regularly with the first team squad and he made his senior debut at Villa Park in April, coming on during the second half of a 4-0 win and playing at left-back.
After a year on loan, Clarke-Salter travelled to China and Singapore with Antonio Conte's squad in the summer of 2017 and featured in our opening game against Arsenal and against Inter Milan. He was a member of the first-team squad for the first part of the 2017/18 season and came on during the second half of our Carabao Cup win over Nottingham Forest.
Clarke-Salter's first loan move came in August 2016 when he moved to League One Bristol Rovers for the season, along with teammate Charlie Colkett. Having overcome an injury suffered at the end of the previous season, he made his debut there at the end of September and scored in an away win at Oldham, but a broken arm in November removed the young defender from the action temporarily. He returned in March, coming on as a sub against Southend, and then made his first start since the injury in an away win at AFC Wimbledon. In total, he made 13 appearances for the Pirates.
Shortly after being an unused sub in an FA Cup match at Norwich in January 2018, Clarke-Salter went on loan to the Championship for the first time, joining Sunderland until the end of the season. He played 13 times on Wearside as the Black Cats failed to avoid relegation to League One, with our young defender sent off on consecutive appearances in February and March.
In 2018/19, he spent the season in the Netherlands with Vitesse and scored his only goal of the campaign in the opening league game against Groningen. In total, he played 28 times in the Eredivisie as Vitesse finished fifth.
Clarke-Salter would then return to England and earn a loan move to Championship side Brimingham City, after signing a new contract at Chelsea. The centre-back appeared 23 times for the Blues who retained their Championship status.
On EFL transfer deadline day in October 2020, he returned to Birmingham on another loan. There during the season he played 11 games in a side that struggled and changed its manager twice but ultimately avoided relegation from the Championship.
The defender has represented England throughout the age groups and played his part in significant silverware success for the young Lions. In the summer of 2017, he was part of the England Under-20 team that won the FIFA World Cup for that age group, playing four games alongside club-mate Fikayo Tomori, including the win in the final against Venezuela.
There was further international success in June 2018, with Clarke-Salter part of the England Under-21 side that won the Toulon Tournament. He was also named captain for the Under-21s at the European Championship finals in 2019, though Aidy Boothroyd's side were unable to progress beyond the group stage.