'He'll tell you about it' - Jack Harrison hails impact of Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa
It is a staple of Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United that players under his guidance have pushed themselves to new heights.
Examples can be found wherever you look in the Elland Road squad but Whites winger Jack Harrison is among the group of those who, from the outside looking in, have benefited the most from continuity under the Argentine boss.
The 24-year-old is finally a Leeds player after spending three seasons on loan in LS11 from Manchester City and looks like a snip at £11m.
Harrison helped play a key role in United’s promotion back to the Premier League in his second term after overcoming a number of obstacles in his opening year in West Yorkshire.
By his own admission, he struggled to adapt to the pressures of playing regular Championship football after gaining first-team experience in the MLS with New York City.
“I’ve been grateful for all the playing time I’ve had,” Harrison reflected after making his move official earlier this month.
“As a player that is all you really want, because it is the best way to develop and improve yourself.
“Not only having that playing time but working under such unique methodology such as Marcelo, it really helps you to hone in on details you wouldn’t see anywhere else.
“It’s very demanding but as a player you want to be a part of the best and he provides that. He demands the best. If you’re not going to give it then he’ll tell you about it. It’s great to be in that environment. It can be stressful at times but you know in the end it is good for you as a player.”
Harrison’s first campaign ended in play-off heartbreak for Bielsa and Leeds.
Four goals and three assists were a middle of the road contribution in terms of numbers but United’s coaching staff had seen enough to warrant a return.
Six goals and eight assists came in the promotion season that followed before eight goals and eight assists were banked in his first full year as a Premier League player.
Improvement for Harrison has been a steady upward curve but Leeds now have themselves a top-flight regular through their commitment to his development.
“In the first couple of years you can see there weren’t many changes to the squad,” Harrison said.
“Through his [Bielsa’s] methodology and his way of working he was able to make a team that wasn’t successful, into an incredible team that managed to win the Championship and get promoted.
“Not only that, but we finished top 10 in the first year in the Premier League after 16 years. It says a lot about him and his way of working, it works here at Leeds, everyone buys into what he is trying to do. It has been great to be a part of that.”
Now, Harrison and Leeds are back and looking to build on the foundations they have laid for themselves.
“It’s something that I have always strived for as a player. I always wanted to play in the Premier League,” Harrison admitted.
“To finally have worked hard to get there and then to have such a special season. You can see how much it means to everyone to be here and be back in the promised land as a club.”