Leeds United may have a bit of a dilemma on their hands once the injured Pablo Hernandez returns. Jack Harrison has played well while filling in for the Spaniard over the past 3 matches. Harrison took a very untraditional path to the Premier League, moving to America as a teenager and choosing to play college “soccer” at Wake Forest, an elite school for both football and academics. From Wake, he was drafted into the MLS by New York City FC, where he quickly rose to stardom. After a few seasons in New York, he signed with NYCFC’s parent club, Manchester City. He sat for a season with the champion’s reserves, and then of course he was loaned to Leeds. Here, he joins an incredible youth movement, where 9 players aged 25 or younger have seen the pitch this year.
His time at Elland Road got off to a relatively slow start, as he only played for 57 minutes through the first 5 league matches. However, Pablo Hernandez’s extended absence due to a hamstring issue has given Harrison an opportunity to prove that he is worthy of more playing time. He has played in every match for Leeds since their 3-0 win over Norwich and has shown that he is deserving of a further look. With the exception of a poor match in Leeds’ loss to Birmingham, he has shown why Pep Guardiola wants him in Manchester.
I’m struggling to think of a better out and out winger performance since the Premiership than Jack Harrison had last night. Maybe Eddie Lewis at a push?. @LUFC— Paul Grimley (@LPP2014) September 19, 2018
Ezgjan Alioski is the other winger whose playing time would be threatened due to Harrison’s recent run of form. The Macedonian winger has had a great season himself and has been much more consistent so far. He currently owns a 16.7% scoring rate, which rises to an impressive 21.7% when including his two UEFA Nations League matches.
Clearly, it would be hard to justify sitting either Alioski or Hernandez for an extended period of time, but it would be possible to give Harrison starts every now and then. Pablo is already quite old at 33, so giving him a game off once every few weeks could help keep him healthy. Let’s hope that Leeds fans will be able to see much more of the 21-year-old in the coming weeks.