By Football Whispers
Jack Harrison’s path to one of the biggest clubs in world soccer wasn’t exactly a well trodden. However, it could be a route which more players take in the future.
From the youth teams of Liverpool and Manchester United, via North Carolina and New York City, to Manchester City, Harrison has enjoyed a diverse football education. Yet at 21-years-old he is still learning and honing his game.
This summer in the International Champions Cup, the biggest summer tournament in club soccer, he has had the opportunity to feature for the Premier League champions, who he joined in January.
He has played for Pep Guardiola’s side against Borussia Dortmund in Chicago and Liverpool in East Rutherford. He is also likely to take on FC Bayern in Miami Gardens this weekend.
For Harrison the International Champions Cup has given him the chance to return to the country which gave him the platform he needed to launch a football career.
Aged 14 he left Manchester United in order to attend Berkshire School in Massachusetts. It was a brave decision but one his mother, Debbie, felt gave her son the best opportunity of having a fallback option if he wasn’t to succeed in soccer.
However, Harrison’s talent soon became apparent. He scored 24 goals and registered 33 assists during his time at the school. He would go on to join Wake Forest University in North Carolina and soon talk would begin about the talented wide-man securing a move to MLS.
In January 2016, he turned pro and was selected by Chicago Fire as the No.1 pick in the MLS draft. However, NYCFC had been watching the English youngster for some time and ensured he was traded to the club, where he would join the likes of Frank Lampard, Andrea Pirlo and David Villa in the starting XI and would be managed by Premier League icon Patrick Vieira.
“Playing with Pirlo, Villa and Lampard, and learning off Vieira, you learn so much about things on and off the field,” he said in 2017.
He became the club’s first ever teenage goalscorer following his strike on his senior debut against Real Salt Lake on June 2, 2016, and to this day remains the club’s youngest goalscorer.
His performances for NYCFC earned him nominations for the MLS Rookie of the Year award in 2016, and his goal against Montreal in the same season was voted the second best strike that year.
Under the tutelage of Vieira, he was also able to reach a level where he was called up for England’s under-21 side, making international appearances against Andorra and Scotland in 2017.
These displays in MLS and the subsequent international call-up alerted Manchester City and their manager Pep Guardiola, who took the opportunity to bring Harrison back to England at the end of the 2017 MLS season.
On returning to Manchester – this time in the blue half of the city – the winger was loaned out to Championship club Middlesbrough to help him ease back into a soccer culture that he left almost a decade earlier.
Now back at Manchester City, the youngster will be hoping his performances at the International Champions Cup have proven to Pep Guardiola that he’s ready to be a part of the first-team squad at the Etihad.