Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Kick-Start Gets Harley Running

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Kick-Start Gets Harley Running

Article excerpt


IF any player encapsulates the transient nature of footballing fortune it is surely Jon Harley.

The Fulham fullback is seeking to rebuild his reputation at Sheffield United after being deemed surplus to requirements by Jean Tigana, who paid pound sterling3.5million to rescue him from Chelsea's reserves.

Harley's career to date provides a study in frustration. The 23-year-old was hailed as the answer to England's left-sided problem after breaking into the Chelsea team as a teenager under Gianluca Vialli, but failed to impress his replacement Claudio Ranieri.

After just five league appearances under the Italian, Harley opted to join Fulham for the promise of first team football, which failed to materialise.

But he remains philosophical about his future and is certainly no cockney rebel.

Harley, whose United team host Crystal Palace tonight in the Worthington Cup quarterfinals, told Standard Sport: "It's frustrating but I'm not the only player in this situation. I'm just happy to be playing again. Most of my games at Fulham were in the reserves, which doesn't compare to the first team.

"All I want to do is play. It's massively frustrating. Given the price I went for, I thought the least I'd get was a run in the side, but I don't think I've played two games on the trot. It's not down to me and I have to do my best whenever I do play.

"I've spoken to the manager a couple of times, but I'm not one to knock on his door whenever I'm not picked. I don't like to make a fuss. I just concentrate on playing."

Unfortunately for Harley, he has had little opportunity to concentrate on what he does best. Tigana's only major English signing has made just five Premiership starts in more than 18 months and appears to be a victim of his manager's preference for French players.

But now Harley is thriving under the more rumbustious direction of Neil Warnock and wants to stay at Bramall Lane beyond his initial two-month loan.

He said: "A permanent move is out of the question at the moment because of the financial situation, but I'm loving every minute of it. I haven't played first-team football for a while, so to have five games in the space of 15 days is fantastic. …

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