New signing Harrop on choosing Ipswich, proving his worth, set-piece aims and debt of thanks to Mourinho
- Credit: ITFC
Ipswich Town have signed attacking midfielder Josh Harrop on loan for the remainder of the season. Andy Warren spoke to him ahead of his debut against Peterborough United.
How have you settled in?
JH: I had my first training session yesterday (Thursday) which was obviously good to get going with and it was great to meet all the lads and train with them for the first time.
I’ve been down here for a week now so it was good to get going and try to make a good first impression in front of the lads.
I think I did alright but it was only the first session.
The lads seems positive, happy and up for the challenges ahead.
What do you make of the quality here?
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JH: It was good. You can see everyone is trying to play football and there are some really good combinations between the lads in training, so it was enjoyable.
Did you have other clubs interested in you before you moved here?
JH: Yeah, there were a few clubs interested (including Hull) but speaking to the manager here, and getting an understanding of what he wants from me as a player and where he would play me, I thought Ipswich would suit me best.
After speaking to the manager I felt confident I could do well. I had other option which I needed to think about but after those conversations I sat down and felt Ipswich was my best option.
Did you speak to Josh Earl (Preston team-mate and former Ipswich loanee) about the move?
JH: I did. I spoke to him about the club and the place in general. He gave me a heads-up so it was good to chat.
What is the manager expecting you to bring to the team?
JH: He wants me to get on the ball and make things happen, get the ball moving fast and pick passes out in the final third to help create. I like to get on the ball and pick a pass to try and make things happen on the pitch.
How frustrating has this season been, given you’ve not been playing as much as you would like?
JH: It’s frustrating not to be playing because that’s what we love to do, so the best option was to come on loan and I can’t wait to get started.
You want to start games, make an impact and enjoy your football. I like the pressures of it. For me, I just want to play.
I signed a new contract with Preston at the beginning of the season so I’m tied down there for three years.
Are you ready to play?
JH: Yeah, I’ve trained a couple of times and I’m ready to go. It’s about getting my body up to speed.
There are plenty of games coming up...
JH: That’s what you want and the sooner the better sometimes. If you’re doing well you want them to keep coming.
I want to get off to a good start and then keep it going. These games will be a lot on the body but I can’t wait to get started.
The chance to be involved in a promotion battle must excite you?
JH: As a club we want to achieve that and we want to get the promotion at the top of the table.
Hopefully I can help push for that.
And your debut could come in a game with a bit of an edge...
JH: Definitely, Peterborough are a good side and it’s going to be a tough game because they are in good form.
The lads have to be up for it because every game counts now in the last 20-odd games. We have to try and get points out of it.
Have you got yourself on set-pieces yet?
JH: Hopefully! I like to take a free-kick or two so hopefully I can get involved in those.
If I can help contribute to a free-kick to score or assisting from a corner then I would put my hand up for that, definitely.
When I first signed there a lot of the stuff I did take went in so I’ll be trying to add that to this side as well.
Alex Neil has said you maybe need to be a bit more consistent. Is that fair?
JH: With games, consistency comes I say. If you don’t get the games you can’t be consistent so hopefully here I will get the games to show I can be consistent.
You’ve had some issues with hamstring and knee problems. Is that all ok?
JH: No, I should be fine to go. I had a big of a niggle a month ago but that seems to have settled down a lot now so I’m ready to train and ready to go.
It must be a funny time to go out on loan, given you can’t go out for a coffee or anything like that with your team-mates?
JH: I’m in a hotel at the minute so there’s not an awful lot I can do. I’m waiting for the girlfriend to come down, but not too soon when I’m in the hotel because it’s a bit congested.
It’s the same for everyone at the minute with everything going on in the world but I don’t mind, I can watch Netflix.
What was your education like at Manchester United?
JH: It was a dream come true to play there and come through the ranks.
They drain football into you like a lifestyle. They make it everything for you and all I’ve known is football – they don’t make it easy for you that’s for sure.
Warren Joyce was a manager for me there and he was tough, he makes you earn your place.
To make your debut and score was the stuff of dreams, wasn’t it?
JH: Literally. For my family and everyone it was a dream come true and a great moment in my career.
What did Jose Mourinho do for you?
JH: He gave me my debut! I’ll always have a place in my heart for him because he gave me that chance.
There were a lot of people who put a lot into me at United, like Warren Joyce and then Jose and even Louis van Gaal. They spoke about being confident on the pitch and never shying away from having the ball.
It’s what you do on the training pitch that goes onto the pitch with you. All of those things I’ve been given by a lot of people over a long time.
You must be targeting getting back there (Premier League) at some stage?
JH: Of course. Every player wants to be at as high a level as possible and I still have those aims.
Every journey is different but you have to show what you’re all about.