Leeds news: Phil Hay delivers verdict on Jack Harrison's left-back credentials

Leeds star Jack Harrison

Leeds United star Jack Harrison has enjoyed a fruitful transition to life in the Premier League. 

Harrison featured regularly under Marcelo Bielsa over the course of the Argentine's first two season at the helm and, while the 24-year has not always commanded universal enthusiasm amongst the Whites faithful, has improved dramatically since he first arrived at the club. 

Harrison has scored three goals and provided four assists in what has been an impressive start to his career in the top flight. 

The arrival of Raphinha last summer has intensified competition for places out wide this season, but Bielsa has opted to drop Helder Costa to accommodate the new signing rather than the Manchester City loanee. 

But some supporters are beginning to ponder whether Harrison would actually be a greater asset for the side in a more defensive-minded role.  

Indeed, ahead of Leeds' clash with Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday, a fan asked Phil Hay in his pre-match Q&A column if he envisaged a future for the 24-year-old in a new-look role at left-back.

The highly respected Leeds correspondent suggested Harrison has the skillset to perform there but believes the player sees his future in the advanced role he's currently operating in, per The Athletic

"Harrison played at left-back for the 23s earlier in the season. I'm pretty sure you could mould him for that role but he thinks of himself as a winger and I don't see that changing, at least not for the time being. But I see where you're coming from. He's strong and he's got outstanding stamina."

GIVEMESPORT's Jack Saville says...

It's an intriguing narrative that's beginning to take shape and one that isn't without precedent at Elland Road. 

Bielsa has already proven his ability to repurpose players in order to plug gaps within the team.

Ezgjan Alioski signed for the Whites as a left-winger but has filled in at left-back on myriad occasions, including 11 times in the Premier League this season.

Though the Macedonian commands affection among the Leeds supporters for his bizarrely erratic behaviour, he's looked assured for the most part in his new position, while Pep Guardiola enjoyed similar success in converting Oleksandr Zinchenko - a number ten by trade - into a full-back at a time when his Manchester City side were bereft of natural options. 

As Hay says, Harrison is a tremendous athlete and possesses the physicality to excel in an unforgivably marauding role in Bielsa's free-flowing system. 

And given the Stoke-born winger has already played in that position for the reserve side, it wouldn't be overly surprising to see him slot into the defensive unit if Leeds were stripped of a handful of key first-team players. 

The lines of distinction separating the skillsets required to play on the wing and at full-back are beginning to blur beyond comprehension in the modern game, and discussion over Harrison's best position serves as an apt indicator of the growing trend.

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