Harrop: If You Don't Get the Games, You Can't Become Consistent
Friday, 22nd Jan 2021 11:52
Josh Harrop is determined to be a success in his loan spell with Town and prove to manager Alex Neil at parent club Preston that he should be part of his future plans.
Neil, who moved to Preston after a spell in charge of Norwich that saw them promoted to the Premier League before coming back down after one season, was appointed at Deepdale in July 2017 – soon after his predecessor, Simon Grayson, oversaw the deal to sign Harrop from his first club, Manchester United.
It was Neil who sanctioned this week’s loan switch to the Blues and talked of wanting more consistency from the player at Deepdale, something that Harrop was keen to address earlier today in his first press conference as a Town player.
Harrop, 25, said: “I would say consistency comes from playing games and if you don’t get the games you can’t become consistent.
“Here at Ipswich I’m hoping to get the games to show I can be consistently good in what I contribute to the team. That’s something that I maybe didn’t have back at Preston.”
Harrop suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury in September 2018, in a 3-2 defeat by West Bromwich Albion, which sidelined him for almost a year.
But he added: “There’s nothing that should hold me back at Ipswich. I had a bit of a hamstring niggle about a month ago but it seems to have settled down a lot since then and I’m ready to train and play.
“I’m ready for the challenge and can’t wait to get started in trying to help get the results we need. Hopefully my first game will be tomorrow against Peterborough.
“It’s a big game and it’s definitely going to be a tough one. They have been in good form of late and we’re all going to have to be up for it.
“Every game really counts now and with more than 20 games still to be played every point is going to be important if we are to push up the table.
“We need to be positive and believe we can win it. Keeping the supporters happy and onside with the football we are playing and the results we are achieving is always the aim.
“I’ll be trying my hardest to create something in every game I play, whether it’s creating chances for my team-mates or popping up with a goal myself here and there.
“I like to take a free-kick or two so hopefully I’ll get that chance. I’d like to be involved with free-kicks and corners, so let’s wait and see. Obviously, if I can contribute in any way, I’m up for it.
“If it’s taking a free-kick and sticking it in the net, or sending over a corner that someone else puts away, it doesn’t matter. I just want to make a positive contribution so if the job to take set pieces is available I’ll put my name down on the sheet.
“When I first joined Preston I had a good run with set pieces. Everything went right for a while, which made it a very enjoyable way to get going at a new club, and it would be good if something similar happened here to help Ipswich as well.”
Stockport-born Harrop made the decision himself to leave United in search of regular first team football but not before making a tremendous debut for the club when he scored the opening goal in their 2-0 home win over Crystal Palace on the final day of the 2016-17 season.
He finished that campaign as the U23s’ leading marksman with 10 goals but despite a fresh contract offer from United he opted to move on and was quickly snapped up by Preston.
But he remains a United fan and admitted: “It’s looking good with them at the top of the Premier League. As a youngster coming through the ranks at United it was a dream come true for me.
“It was great to be involved in something like that and the club did a lot for me, both as a player and a person.
“They instil the United way into every young player and everything that being a footballer entails. It’s a great education and it was all I knew when I was growing up in the game.
“They don’t make it easy for you either. People on the outside might think everything’s rosy about being a young player at a big club like United but that’s not the case.
“Warren Joyce was the manager of the reserve team when I was there and they don’t come much tougher. He made us all work hard to earn our place in the team and it was a good journey for me even if it didn’t last as long as some others.
“To make my debut and score an early goal was literally the stuff of dreams. It was a magic moment for me and my family, who shared it with me.
“If I’m asked what Jose did for me the answer is simple – he gave me my debut – and he’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for that.
“As a player you want to get to the highest level you can and the very top if possible. I still have the same aims now but every player’s journey is different. The only thing that’s the same is that you have to put the effort in and show what you’re about.
“I’ve been influenced by quite a lot of different people over my time in football. They have all drilled a lot into me as a player. I’ve already mentioned Warren Joyce and Jose Mourinho but it was the same with Louis van Gaal at Old Trafford.
“They all spoke about being confident on the pitch and always demanding the ball, never shying away from it.
“Another big thing drummed into us was that what you do on the training pitch counts every bit as much as what you contribute on match day and makes you the player that you are.
“The things I learned in my time at United have stood me in good stead since moving on to Preston and now here. I’m the player United made me.”
Photo: Action Images
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