Ex United youngster Josh Harrop looks to relaunch his career on loan at Fleetwood Town

Josh Harrop announced himself at Manchester United in spectacular style in May 2017. A few weeks later he was gone.

Harrop was called up in an largely rotated team against Crystal Palace on the final day of the Premier League season as the first team rested for the Europa League final.

Scott McTominay was in the starting line-up and is still a first team star, while Demetri Mitchell this week signed with Hibernian.

It was Harrop who was the big winner that day. He scored a fantastic goal to live the dream in front of a packed Old Trafford crowd and make fans wonder if a future star had just emerged.

But with his contract up at the end of the season, Harrop chose to leave in pursuit of regular football, joining Preston.

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Photo by James Baylis – AMA/Getty Images

New start

Harrop’s time at Preston has generally underwhelmed, but it’s not quite as simple as that. The attacking midfielder has struggled badly with injury setbacks at key times in his development, including an ACL tear just one year after leaving United.

This season he has not played a single minute and at the age of 26, he needs to rebuild. Harrop has joined Fleetwood Town on loan for the rest of the campaign.

Fleetwood are 19th in League One and Harrop is looking forward to the fresh start.

Speaking to the club website, Harrop said: “it’s a great opportunity to come, get football in my legs, and show what I can do. I want to play football, it’s what I enjoy doing, and that’s why I’m here. I’m hungry for games.

“The most important thing for me is playing football and enjoying myself at the same time. I just want to do what I love; I want to be on the pitch rather than in the stands. I want to be scoring goals, creating assists, getting minutes in, and getting every opportunity that I can.”

Harrop’s memorable goal at United was a little bit of a false economy, as he was only given a chance because the team was heavily rotated. Jose Mourinho is very unlikely to have given him a chance if he had stayed, taking into account the various attacking options he had at his disposal.

Photo by Ian Cook – CameraSport via Getty Images

Leaving probably the right choice, Old Trafford superstardom only would have ever been a pipedream, but in different circumstances with better injury luck, Harrop would have been a lot better off than he currently is.

His 2017 strike serves as a reminder of what he is capable of and can be capable of again, and those in attendance at Old Trafford that day won’t forget it.

Harrop got to live the dream for one day, and if he can stay injury free at Fleetwood for the rest of the season, new opportunities may begin to open up.

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