How MLS helped Man City loanee Harrison find a perfect home at Bielsa's Leeds

Jack Harrison Leeds United New York City MLS GFXGetty/Goal

It's more than three years since Jack Harrison joined Manchester City, but the winger will have to wait a little longer before he plays a senior fixture at the Etihad Stadium.

The 24-year-old has spent the last three seasons on loan at Leeds United and Premier League rules means he cannot face his parent club this weekend.

Harrison's move to Elland Road is expected to become permanent at the end of the season, with the attacking midfielder virtually confirming the deal in February.

"I think this summer something is already in place, but my agent knows more about all of this stuff than I do," he told the Fútbol with Grant Wahl podcast.

"Leeds has been incredible to me, I've developed a lot whilst I've been here.

"We always joke that I'm going to come back for a fourth year on loan. I think a lot of the lads still find it hard to believe I'm still on loan. But we'll see what happens in the summer."

Goal understands that the former England Under-21s star is expected to cost around £11 million ($15m), which would be a good return for City, given they paid sister club New York City FC just £3.6m ($5m) for his services in January 2018.

Of course, Harrison is just one of several recent City signings to have been denied anything like a real shot at first-team football at the Etihad.

Among them are Pedro Porro, who has just won his first Spain cap while on loan at Sporting CF, Arsenal's Pablo Mari, who arrived from Spanish second division club Gimnastic and left for Flamengo in Brazil, and Venezuelan midfielder Yangel Herrera, currently on loan at Granada.

Jack Harrison Leeds GFXGetty/Goal

Harrison did at least get to wear the shirt, on a pre-season tour to the United States in 2018.

He played against Borussia Dortmund, Liverpool and Bayern Munich in the International Champions Cup when City were bereft of players after 16 members of their senior squad were called up for that summer's World Cup in Russia.

However, when all of the internationals returned, Pep Guardiola had no room for Harrison and sent him on loan to Marcelo Bielsa's Leeds.

"I know because of the way Marcelo wants to play, I think it suits [Jack’s] capacity perfectly," the Catalan said at the time.

Guardiola was right: Harrison hasn't returned to City since, having proven a big hit at Elland Road by helping Leeds win promotion before establishing themselves in the Premier League this season.

Harrison, then, was undoubtedly right to leave behind an ultra-competitive City squad, featuring top talents such as Phil Foden, Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling, in order to secure regular game time at Leeds.

He has never been afraid to make big career calls, though. Harrison turned down a move to hometown club Stoke City in order to join City, while he also made the bold decision to leave Manchester City as a 14-year-old.

Jack Harrison Manchester City Liverpool GFXGetty/Goal

After six seasons on the books of the Old Trafford outfit, Harrison opted to take a scholarship in the US as a teenager and he says that helped move enormously with his development as he progressed to MLS, via Berkshire School in Massachusetts, and Wake Forest University in North Carolina.

A first pick in the 2016 Superdraft, he joined up with Patrick Vieira's NYCFC and played alongside legends such as Andrea Pirlo, David Villa and Frank Lampard.

However, the Premier League remained the ultimate dream and that finally came true this season with Leeds, rather than City.

While he hasn't been able to force his way back into Guardiola's plans, the former Barcelona boss may be thankful that he is ineligible to play on Saturday as City try to wrap up a third Premier League title in four years as quickly as possible.

Guardiola described Leeds as "the worst opponent we can play between Champions League [games]" because of the Yorkshire side's hard-running and intense pressing.

Harrison, however, is a big miss for Bielsa, given he has started 27 of their 29 games this season, contributing seven goals and five assists.

"We would have hoped to have counted on him, especially as his last performances have been good," the Argentine manager said. "But we knew about the rule that impeded him from playing."

Still, Harrison should finally get his chance to play at the Etihad next season when he becomes a fully-fledged Leeds player.