On-loan Melbourne City striker Shayon Harrison says there is so much quality in the Hyundai A-League that he is confident he will return to parent-club Tottenham Hotspur a far better player.
Harrison made the brave decision last month to leave Spurs and come across to the other side of the globe to play the rest of the 2018/19 season with City.
It was a move designed for the 21-year-old to get more experience at senior level.
While he has been prolific in Spurs’ youth system – scoring 26 goals in 50 games for the U23 team – his next challenge is making the transition to senior football.
And he believes the quality and intense competition in the Hyundai A-League could be a major advantage for when he returns to London at the end of the season.
“I don’t think people realise the quality in the A-League,” Harrison told www.a-league.com.au this week.
“When you are looking at it from inside Europe, there’s just so much quality in the A-League and a lot of very good players to play against and play with.
“You look at someone like Brattsy [Luke Brattan] who has played in the A-League his whole career and he’s just top, top quality. It’s a pleasure to play alongside guys like that.
“So I’m only going to get better playing in this league and playing men’s football is the experience that I need.”
There’s something about Harry
While Harrison has made just the one senior appearance for Spurs – an EPL clash against Liverpool at Anfield in 2016 – his heart is very much with the Premier League outfit.
The Hornsey-born attacker joined Tottenham’s Academy as a nine-year-old, honing his skills with the North London club.
It has allowed Harrison to train daily with the likes of England skipper Harry Kane, Danish superstar Christian Eriksen, Korea Republic international Son Heung-Min, Belgian central defender Toby Alderweireld and England midfielder Dele Alli.
But as a striker, Kane is the one who inspires Harrison the most, with the youngster admitting he tries to mould his game on Spurs’ main man.
“Harry’s is such a great example. Just how hard he works off the ball, his movement is incredible, he’s really aware of his surroundings and how to beat his defender,” Harrison said.
“Obviously his finishing is second to none as well. He’s just a big inspiration for me.
“It’s something you look up to every day in training and it’s a habit you want to get into yourself.
“But Spurs have some of the best players in the world. Christian Eriksen as well. Just seeing those guys every day on the training ground, you pick up so much in such a short space of time.”
Getting off the mark with City
Harrison has started all five games since joining City, finally breaking through for his first goal - and win - in Sunday’s surprise 2-0 triumph over Sydney FC.
It snapped a six-game winless streak for Warren Joyce’s side to keep them within a point of fourth-placed Wellington Phoenix.
With five games to go in the regular season, Harrison hopes the drought-breaking result can serve as a catalyst for the side to have a big end to the campaign.
“We’ve got more than enough quality in our squad to finish the season as strong as we can and head into the finals in form,” he said.
“It’s good to get off the mark [for my first goal]. It’s felt like it’s been a long time coming.
“Now I’ve got off the mark it’s only going to give me more confidence to try and get as many more goals as I can until the end of the season.”
Asked about his combination with fellow City striker Jamie Maclaren, Harrison added: “From the time I got here he’s been amazing, not just on the field but off the field as well.
“He’s a great character and someone I really look up to as a striker.
“He’s unbelievable and he’s showing it in his performances and his numbers as well.”