It’s about time.
Just days removed from scoring his sixth game-winning goal of the MLS season Wednesday night in Montreal, the news got even better for Jack Harrison: he’s been granted his first-ever international call-up.
The Stoke-born, Bolton-raised attacking man will represent the England U21s in next week’s UEFA Euro U21 qualifiers against Scotland and Andorra.
“It’s an exciting opportunity and one I’m very grateful for,” Harrison told NYCFC.com. “I never thought this would happen when I moved out here when I was 14. It’s a special moment and I’m going to cherish it.”
“I’m so excited to be traveling over and doing the best I can. It’s an honor to represent my country.”
It had been a frustrating, puzzling bit of business to watch England’s youth teams carry on and on without handing a single chance to Harrison, a former Manchester United Academy kid who recently made the top three in Major League Soccer’s “24 Under 24” rankings for the second straight year.
As of today, England, you are hereby forgiven.
In the big picture, the news means as much for MLS as a league as it does for Battlin’ Jack as an individual.
“I think it just shows how the league can be challenging for players and that it can be the right place for players to come to develop their talents,” gaffer Patrick Vieira said on the occasion. “Jack going to play for England U21s will send a message to the players that the league is good enough to get to the international level.”
Congrats, Jack, and best of luck with the Young Lions!