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Rise To Fame: Josh Harrop; a telephone call away from success…

If the name Josh Harrop was mentioned a few years ago, many Manchester United supporters would be able to tell you that he was a talented player with the Academy, one who was tipped for big things but also had a long way to go. If you mentioned his name now, you would be told about a sublime solo goal at Old Trafford on his Premier League debut which was set up by United’s world record signing Paul Pogba with Harrop running up the flank, working his way into the box with a slalom-like run and firing into the far corner of the net from a slight angle. His telephone celebration was a joke between him and U23’s goalkeeper Kieran O’Hara, Speaking of the celebration, Harrop said:

“It’s a bit of a joke with one of the lads, Kieran O’Hara, so I did it for him. I did it in the last game as well, so it’s just something I do.”

Playing for Manchester United will be a dream come true for Harrop, a Stockport-born midfielder from a United supporting family. He joined United back in the summer of 2012 and his ambition is to make the grade at United like many have done before. Harrop is an exciting player and during the past season, with the U23’s not having a striker in their ranks, the player has done his best to be the bearer of the goals, along with other players, doing well with 10 goals throughout the season at U23 level; eight being scored in the Premier League 2 and two in the Premier League International Cup, United first time in the competition.

Harrop scored a hat-trick in front of first team manager Jose Mourinho on the Monday 15th May 2017 as United took on Tottenham Hotspur with the player taking the lead for United in the 37th minute, Spurs equalising two minutes into the second half, taking the lead four minutes later. Harrop then scored twice in the last eleven minutes, impressing the Portuguese manager. Harrop would then be back in training read for the weekend where he would make his Premier League debut at Old Trafford against Crystal Palace, which would have been something he had dreamed about in the past. He had played at Old Trafford the Monday evening, but this would be so much different. On making his Manchester United debut, the player (after the match) said:

“I’ve dreamed about it so many times so, for it to come true today, I’m delighted. Over the moon! All my family were here, my friends – I’m delighted they could share the moment with me. I’ve trained since I was eight for this moment so, for it to come true today in front of everyone, I’m over the moon, speechless.”

Harrop was named as a started against Palace also making their full debuts were Joel Pereira, Demetri Mitchell, and Scott McTominay; both Pereira and McTominay had played in the first team already during the 2016/17 season, more like cameo appearances through. Mourinho does not trust youth, they said – as he handed out five debuts to youth players so far that season and Matty Willock and Angel Gomes were also on the bench; Gomes would replace Wayne Rooney in the 88th minute of the match, being the sixth player to be handed a debut by the Portuguese manager during the season. Not bad for a manager who literally does not trust youth, which is not true, of course.

Harrop’s goal put United ahead in the 15th minute with Pogba, the player who assisted him doubling the Old Trafford club’s lead in the 19th minute, completing the scoring in the 2-0 victory. The 21-year-old, who will turn 22 in December is officially out of contract at the end of the month, meaning he could be leaving the Old Trafford club. A new contract has been offered with was signalled in the Premier League released and retained list this summer, but nothing has been suggested as to whether the player will remain at the club. Being from a United supporting family and this being a big dream, the player would not be in the right frame of mind to walk away from the club. First team football is not something that will be granted straight away, even though he did impress the manager it will need to be something he and others work for.

Harrop started his rise through the club’s ranks whilst playing for the U18 during the 2013/14 season, one which will be remembered as the first failure after Sir Alex Ferguson retired, for the first team at least, David Moyes, that! That season Harrop made 24 starts, scoring six goals and assisting a further eight goals. He also played for the U19’s when they took part in the UEFA Youth League that season, starting three times and coming on as a substitute a further three times, he also appeared as a substitute six times for the U21’s that season, making a total of 36 appearances that season. During the 2014/15 season, Harrop was promoted to the then U21’s (now the U23’s) where he made a total of 17 appearances, scoring four goals. The following season he made 16 appearances, scoring no goals but assisting twice. Injury was a big factor for him at the time, something he seems to have overcome.

The Sun reported earlier in the week that United had not offered Harrop a new contract, which is a bad bit of research for the newspaper, but that will not surprise anyone. They suggest that Harrop has been offered to Ligue 1 clubs Rennes and Bordeaux by his representatives, a report which came from GFFN. I would be surprised if this was anything more than a loan deal, with the possibility that a United contract will have already been accepted, of it could well be the plan to accept before the end of the month, unless a buyback clause will be inserted into and contract, which I am sure would need to mean that the player was already in contract with United before signing it.

This is probably nothing, but if it was something of a loan nature, it could be a good league for the play to gain more confidence to return to United in a year’s time ready to be handed a much bigger challenge. I do hope he stays at United, his heart might tell him to do that with his head suggesting something else. I am sure we shall see what happens over the next week or so. One thing is for sure though, Josh Harrop is not a player we have heard the last of.

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