Josh Harrop has had a fantastic start to the season breaking into Manchester United’s Under-21s as well as earning an international call up and the midfielder has set himself ambitious targets for rest of the the season.
Having impressed in pre-season, scoring a brace against League One side Barnsley, he made a significant impact from the bench in the Manchester Senior Cup Final. Since then he went on to make his first Under-21 Premier League start and has been a fixture in the starting XI since then, form which saw him called up to England’s Under-20 squad where he made his international debut and provided an assist in the 6-0 win over Romania.
Harrop also bagged his first Under-21 goal on his debut at that level in United’s 3-0 victory over Norwich and has said his ambition is to hit double figures with goals by the end of the season: “I’d like ten goals from midfield.
“Perhaps in all competitions but it’s a target isn’t it? Someone else has got to score the goals other than Wilo [James Wilson] and hopefully I can get a few this season.”
The versatile youngster spent most of last season playing for Paul McGuinness’ Under-18s and the Academy coach was confident that Stockport-born lad would make the step up to the Under-21s. McGuinness included Harrop on the shortlist for last season’s Jimmy Murphy Academy Player of the Year Award, where he lost out to the prolific Wilson.
All his starts this season have been in central midfield but Harrop has experience playing in a wide variety of roles. “I played wide left in the UEFA Youth League last season and had to adjust because it was not a position I was used to playing.
Aims for the season? “Just to keep impressing and see how far I can go…I just want to keep doing what I’m doing at the minute, playing well and maintaining a solid position in the team. I want to impress the gaffer and see what happens from there.”
“I had got used to it by the end of the season with the Under-21s though. I can adjust to quite a few positions. I’ve played right-back, centre-midfield, off the striker and a No.10. It all helps to improve your game.”
From a family of United fans, he joined the club at the tender age of seven and has his sights set on the first team in the future: “Hopefully, I can play in the Manchester United first team one day.
“I have been here since I was seven so I’ve been at the club a long time. I want to keep progressing, grow physically and try to make the first team. I’m a local lad, from Stockport, so it’s great to be playing for United.
“Ever since I was born, I’ve been a fan as all my family are United supporters. I’m aware the club has had a Harrop in the team before [in the 1950s], Bobby, but he is not related to me.”