The Tale of a Manchester United Youngster: From Debut Glory to Unemployment at 27
In the footballing world, there’s a bittersweet story of a talented Manchester United prodigy named Josh Harrop. It all began in 2017 when he made a dazzling debut against Crystal Palace and seemed destined for greatness.
After impressing in the United academy, Harrop got a start on the final day of the season, seizing the moment by scoring a brilliant goal from Paul Pogba’s assist in a 2-0 win. The future appeared promising.
But soon after, Harrop made a pivotal decision. He rejected a new contract from United, seeking regular first-team action, and signed with Championship side Preston. There, he displayed his skills, amassing 95 appearances and 13 goals, but his journey was marred by injuries.
An ACL injury sidelined him for most of the 2018-19 season, though he managed to score eight goals across all competitions upon his return and earned a new three-year contract. Unfortunately, he wouldn’t see it through.
Falling out of favor at Preston, he was loaned to League One’s Ipswich in January 2021 but couldn’t find the net or assist in 15 outings. The following January, he was loaned to Fleetwood Town, making just five appearances before being released from his Preston contract in September 2022.
Harrop’s resilience showed as he started training with Northampton and eventually secured a contract with the League Two side in December 2022.
Reflecting on his challenging journey, Harrop stated, “It’s been a difficult few years, to be honest. I went to Preston with really high hopes, but it was a rollercoaster – sometimes great, sometimes not so good. Injuries and loan spells threw me off course, but that’s the nature of football.”
He further added, “After leaving Preston, I wanted to focus on my physical condition, ensuring I could perform at my best without picking up minor injuries.”
Unfortunately, injury troubles limited him to just two brief substitute appearances as the Cobblers earned promotion to League One. Regrettably, Northampton decided not to offer Harrop a new deal at the end of the season.
Now, at the age of 27, the former United wonderkid finds himself without a club, with the summer transfer window firmly shut.