Leeds United have spent the entirety of the 2021/22 campaign in the bottom half of the Premier League table.
Granted, the 2020/21 season also saw Leeds occupy places in the bottom 10, but a late surge resulted in the Whites claiming a definitive position in the top half.
One player instrumental in that late seasons charge was left-sided attacker Jack Harrison. The former Manchester City-loanee made his Elland Road stay a permanent one this summer for a reported fee in the region of ?11 million.
Harrison netted eight goals and recorded eight assists in the league last season, but has struggled to hit similar heights so far this term.
The 25-year-old scored his first league goal of 2021/22 in the recent 3-1 win over Burnley at Elland Road, but questions remain over the wide-man’s ability to replicate last season’s form particularly in the absence of a recognised striker.
Harrison has on occasion been utilised in the false nine role, although it appears Daniel James is Marcelo Bielsa’s preferred weapon of choice in this scenario nowadays.
James’ profligacy in front of goal when deployed in that role, including during Leeds’ FA Cup exit at the weekend, may persuade Bielsa to hand Harrison an opportunity leading the line if Patrick Bamford, Rodrigo Moreno, Tyler Roberts and Joe Gelhardt are unavailable this Sunday.
Speaking to Soccer AM following his goal against Burnley, Harrison opened up on the difficulties facing Leeds and himself this season.
“Frank Lampard actually called this interview,” began host ‘Tubes’. “He said, ‘that kid over there, his name’s Jack Harrison, you’ll be interviewing him in the future’, and here we are now.”
Harrison played alongside ex-Derby County boss Lampard at New York City FC in MLS during the formative years of the Leeds man’s career.
“It was more of a relief than anything,” Harrison said, on his first goal of the season. “I’ve been working really hard all season, I think I’ve been unfortunate with injuries, I had COVID and just being out with one thing and the other – I’m hoping to get some more [goals] from here on out.
“You start questioning all the things that have worked for you in the past and you start to question ‘should I continue doing this?’ because I like to do a lot of extra work as well, and I started thinking maybe this is a bit more detrimental.
“I had to try and reset myself, think outside of the box and try to find those things that do work for me 100% and continue doing them.”
He added: “You just have to stick to what you know is right and eventually it’ll turn in your favour.”
Leeds United winger Jack Harrison scored his first Premier League goal of the season against Burnley. (Image: Getty Images)
That is the hope Leeds United supporters share with regards to the team’s fortunes as a whole. Harrison’s form has been less electrifying but equally, the team he is a part of has been a casualty to COVID infections, several simultaneous injuries and bad luck.
Sunday afternoon’s do-over at the London Stadium in the Premier League provides Leeds with the opportunity to field a stronger starting XI than the one which was defeated 2-0 last weekend in the FA Cup.
Harrison will most likely be included, but whether that is on the left flank or in attack remains to be seen.