WINGER Jack Harrison was naturally determined for his second loan move away from Manchester City to be the right one.
Four months at Middlesbrough at the beginning of the year yielded only four appearances from the bench for a footballer who remains new to the English game having spent the best part of half a decade in the USA before signing for City.
Three months into his second spell away from the Etihad at Leeds United, the 21-year-old readily admits that he still needs to improve.
With that improvement likely to be forthcoming under Marcelo Bielsa in a style of play similar to City’s, the winger is hailing the switch to Leeds as the perfect move - both for Leeds United’s promotion push and his own long-term designs on making Pep Guardiola’s first team.
Harrison has quickly chalked up 13 appearances since joining Leeds on a season-long loan in July from a club whose own world-revered coach has often spoke glowingly about United’s own boss Bielsa.
For me, he is the best coach in the world,” said Guardiola last year, asked about the former Argentina, Chile, Athletic Bilbao, Marsielle, Lazio and Lille boss who was born in Rosario, Argentina.
Harrison, meanwhile, saw his football education come in North America with the former Liverpool and Manchester United Academy youngster moving to the States as a teenager and ultimately signing for New York City from where Manchester City swooped for his talents.
Immediately after signing for City on January 31, the England under-21s winger was loaned out to Middlesbrough but four months yielded only four appearances off the bench with the Stoke-born winger handed just 49 minutes of football under Tony Pulis.
In one month less at Elland Road, Harrison has already smashed that tally and the winger admits United’s style of free-flowing, passing and high press football is the just the ticket for helping both his own career and United’s push for the Premier at the same time.
“When I first came to England in February, I think it was maybe a little too rushed,” said Harrison.
“I didn’t take everything into consideration so we made sure that we did that this time round. I’m happy to be here.
“If you look at each player the play can be quite different and suit different styles and I think that the style of play we want to play here is fitting for me.
“Also, with Man City, it’s quite similar as well, so it’s a good place to be and a great club to be a part of, and if we can continue playing like that then it’s not only going to be good for myself but good for the team, for the club as well.”
Harrison made his 13th appearance and eighth league start in Wednesday night’s hosting of Ipswich in which the left-footed midfielder was switched from his usual right wing position onto the opposite side of the flank as Gjanni Alioski shifted back to left back.
The 21-year-old was initially handed his opportunity in the Whites starting line up following injury to Pablo Hernandez and easily the winger’s most memorable moment so far in a Whites shirt came when netting a scorching equalising goal in the 89th minute of a 1-1 draw at Millwall in what was Harrison’s second start.
“It started off pretty well,” said Harrison, reflecting on his form at Leeds so far.
“I think in the last few games I could have definitely done better myself, but the team I think it’s good because we’re not losing games, we’ve still been getting points which are going to be crucial towards the end of the year. From the team’s point of view I’m quite happy but I know we can do a lot better and for myself I know I need to improve.”
Tonight’s test against Nottingham Forest will provide Harrison with the latest chance to impress and the winger is thrilled to be learning under such an experienced and world-renowned coach as Bielsa who he says is developing new elements to his game - having come highly recommended by his City boss Guardiola.
Harrison revealed: “Before I made the decision to come here on pre-season, he (Guardiola) had all good things to say about him (Bielsa) and about how he admired the way he plays and some of the philosophies and methodology was quite similar as well.
“He said it’d be a good place to play in terms of having that similarity to City as well, so all good things from him.
“I think a man of his reputation as a manager and the way he likes to coach and the way he likes to play was definitely a big, big factor for me.“I knew that it was going to be important in the next loan move, making sure it was the right move and that was definitely a big factor.”
Reflecting on Bielsa’s influence in training on his own personal game, Harrison reasoned: “I’ve learnt a lot in terms of off the ball.
"I think whilst I was at New York and Man City a lot of it was the technical aspect and your technical ability but coming here I think I’ve learnt more about movements off the ball and trying to free myself and I know Marcelo puts a lot of emphasis on that, especially for wingers, movements to get in behind and free yourself from your defender.
I had a tough time with it at the start; I think now I’m starting to realise more and more each week what he wants and I know I’m learning more from that as a player.”