JOE Clarke is already licking his lips at the prospect of playing County Championship Division One cricket next summer and admitted: “It is where you want to test yourself.”

The batsman had a taste of the top flight after breaking into the Worcestershire side midway through the 2015 season.

The England Lions player, currently preparing for winter duties in Australia, scored 530 runs at an average of 35.33 with one hundred and four half-centuries.

But next summer will be Clarke’s first full season at the level and he is optimistic the County can acquit themselves well after securing promotion by winning Division Two.

Clarke, 21, said: “To be playing in Division One next year is what everyone wants at the club and it’s where the club wants to be.

“It was fantastic to get over the line and to go up as champions made it even sweeter.

“It is where you want to test yourself. In my opinion it’s where all the best players play.

“It’s much tougher cricket, more consistent, better bowling attacks and better batting line-ups.

“It is certainly going to be a good challenge for us next year.

"But with the squad we’ve got we are more than capable of competing and doing something similar to what Essex did this year (winning the title).”

Regarding his initial spell of Division One cricket, Clarke said: “It makes you learn a lot quicker.

“You’ve got no time to think about anything really. You are being put under pressure straight away and luckily enough it seemed to go OK.

“A lot of the boys have that experience of Division One from 2015 which will be good for us next year.”