Leeds United summer exit credits Thorp Arch staff for role in comeback amid change difficulty
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The winger secured a seaon-long loan move to Goodison Park in the summer, joining a long list of players fleeing Elland Road following Leeds’ relegation to the Championship. Harrison, at least, could boast a solid argument for deserving to remain in the Premier League having played 206 games for the Whites and played such a big part in their happier times under Marcelo Bielsa. The 26-year-old was said to be reluctant to make an exit, but a change of scenery was an attractive proposition after five years at Elland Road – the last two of which had been difficult. January could have brought an earlier exit but 49ers Enterprises managed to pull Harrison back from the brink of a move to Leicester City, as the Whites battled a relegation they ultimately could not avoid.
Everton signed Harrison in August despite the hip injury that had kept him out of action at the start of Daniel Farke’s managerial tenure at Leeds and he finally made his first start for Sean Dyche before the international break. Harrison celebrated with a spectacular goal and an assist in a 3-0 victory over Bournemouth. His return to fitness was not before time given Everton’s lowly position in the Premier League table – that result was just their second win from eight attempts and they sit on seven points, three clear of the drop zone.
Harrison admits that making a transfer move while recovering from injury was a potential complication but the medical staff at both clubs played a part in getting him back on track.
“It’s been a tough period with my injury,” he told the Everton website.
“Everyone at Leeds was great with my rehab, but changing over can be difficult at times. The staff here have been brilliant with me, helping me to get to the condition I’m in now – maybe a little bit before expected. It’s a credit to them, a credit to the staff at Leeds, as well, and a credit to the coaching staff here for providing that opportunity for me.
“It’s something I’ve been working really hard for, and they’ve given me that opportunity. I was really grateful to have the experience against Bournemouth, and I’m hoping to carry on.”
Everton return to action with a Merseyside derby at Anfield against Liverpool in five days’ time. Harrison spent time in the Reds’ academy as a youngster.