Leeds United winger Jack Harrison believes more English youth players should move abroad instead of staying with academy setups in England.
As a 14-year-old, Harrison was a member of Manchester United‘s academy, but he left in order to study in the United States. After impressing at high-school and college level, he signed for MLS outfit New York City, playing under Patrick Vieira.
Jack Harrison Urges More Youngsters to Try Move Abroad
Speaking to BBC Sport of his decision to move abroad as a teenager, Harrison said: “I would recommend people to do the same.”
“It’s not just the football. You don’t get these types of opportunities in England. I have tried different sports, met people from all over the world and have travelled all across the US with football.
“Once I wrapped my head around the idea of going and ignored a lot of people that were saying a lot of bad things about going to the US to play football, it was a great decision for me.”
Having been the first overall pick in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft, he was team-mates with international stars at New York City, sharing a dressing room with David Villa, Frank Lampard and Andrea Pirlo.
The 23-year-old is currently in his third season on loan at Leeds after swapping the MLS for Manchester City in 2017.
Harrison Says It Was ‘Unreal’ to Have Played With So Many Stars
In an interview with BBC Radio 5 Live, Harrison stated: “It was a real honour to play with those three [Lampard, Pirlo and Villa] and be coached by Vieira. I will always be grateful for that experience.”
When Villa described him as “something special”, the Leeds winger revealed: “It was incredible. I was pinching myself when he said it.
“The first time we beat the New York Red Bulls, he scored the second goal and there’s a picture of him pointing to me at the fans.
“It’s unreal to have played with them and they are great people as well. I still speak to them now. Football is a small world and you can meet people from all over the world and stay in touch.”