It was a stellar performance from Jack Harrison on Saturday afternoon. A goal and two assists played a crucial part in Leeds United securing a 4-0 away win over Burnley at Turf Moor – as the Manchester City loanee laid on two excellent assists for substitute Rodrigo to score, after flicking in his side’s second. LeedsUnited.News pundit Nigel Martyn has raved about the winger, and discussed Peter Crouch’s comments regarding Euro 2021.
Harrison, 24, took his tally to 16 goal involvements this season – scoring eight and creating eight more on Saturday during the 4-0 win. Following Mateusz Klich’s opener, Harrison cheekily edged a shot from Gjanni Alioski past Bailey Peacock-Farrell into the net. A delightful pass from Harrison then found Rodrigo in between the central defenders before the Spaniard dinked Burnley’s ex-Leeds United and Northern Ireland stopper.
A beautiful long ball from Kalvin Phillips – which Martyn also praised – then found Harrison and his eighth assist of the season came, when Rodrigo rounded Peacock-Farrell. It saw Crouch claim after the match – during BT Sport’s coverage – that he cannot believe Harrison has not been considered by England manager Gareth Southgate ahead of Euro 2021. Harrison does have caps for England’s Under-21 side.
Crouch said, when asked if Harrison had a shot at England recognition: “I don’t see why not. Every time I have watched him he’s had an impact. He was the best player on the pitch today – he was defensively very sound. He has to be in with a shout (at the Euros). He’s fantastic on the counter, he’s got the legs. He’s been a fantastic player this season for Leeds.”
Martyn believes that Harrison deserves enormous praise for an excellent season but when it comes to England – and Euro 2021 – he finds himself in an incredibly jam-packed area of the pitch. Mason Mount, Phil Foden, Raheem Sterling, Jack Grealish, Bukayo Saka and more currently represent options for Gareth Southgate and while Martyn praised Harrison, he reckons Euro 2021 is too soon. He should be considered, though.
“I think he has had a really consistent season,” Martyn told LeedsUnited.News. “He is probably just in a category of player – we have some world beaters in that position. He is in a really tough category but he is certainly pushing and he will be in Gareth’s mind with those kind of performances. He is pushing. But there is nothing like timing a good run of performances and getting in as the 26th man. Next season, Gareth will have a look and he should. Harrison is talented, he works hard, he has the attributes. It has been a really good season for him.”
Harrison is expected to complete a permanent move to Elland Road this summer, with the Athletic stating in February that an £11million move was close to completion. Harrison has spent the last three seasons on loan at Elland Road, clocking up 126 appearances for the Whites in that time – having a hand in 38 goals. Other than a brief spell in which Helder Costa came in for him, Harrison has excelled all season.
With Martyn of the opinion that Harrison might find inclusion at Euro 2021 is too early, the Leeds United legend was asked if next summer’s World Cup could prove to be an option if he continues to improve. The ex-Middlesbrough and New York man struggled initially but has since got stronger, fitter and more mature – something which Martyn believes is down to himself and Marcelo Bielsa, praising him for his dedication.
“His run is probably too late to get in, but it only takes a couple of injuries. If you get the ball to him, goes past players, creates more chances and score more goals – that is what will push him in there. He’s maturing as a man, as a person, bigger, fitter, stronger. The training he is receiving, he is getting to that age where it all comes together,” Martyn continued on LUN.
“Yes, Bielsa will be giving him what he wants him to do – but it is down to Jack to carry that out. He has played the majority of the games and is cemented in the team, he’s a threat but defends too. In other teams, managers would expect him to be more selfish. He is maturing, getting fitter and stronger and will continue to get better over the next two or three seasons.”
Harrison is expected to start on Tuesday evening against Southampton on the south coast, as Leeds look to climb into eighth place in the Premier League with a win. Ninth-placed Arsenal and Everton – who are in eighth – both play on Wednesday, meaning Leeds could solidify their aims of a top-half finish come the end of the night.