New York City FC's Jack Harrison was called up by the England Under-21 national team on Sunday, ahead of two qualifiers for the 2019 UEFA U-21 Euros. This is the first time he has been called up by his home country.
“I never thought this would happen when I moved out here when I was 14," Harrison told NYCFC.com. "It’s a special moment and I’m going to cherish it. Every year this league is growing and you only have to watch the games to see that it’s getting better and better every year. I’m so excited to be traveling over and doing the best I can. It’s an honor to represent my country.”
England will face off against Scotland in Middlesbrough on Oct. 6 and will then travel to Andorra on Oct. 10. England started their qualifying campaign with a 1-1 draw at the Netherlands and a 3-0 win vs. Latvia. England are looking to build off their UEFA U-19 championship, which they captured in Georgia over the summer.
Harrison entered MLS as the No. 1 pick in the 2016 SuperDraft but was forced to miss the first three months of his professional career due to injury. He ended the season with four goals and seven assists over 21 games and finished third in Rookie of the Year voting. He has been able to build off his exciting rookie year with an impressive sophomore season, collecting 10 goals and six assists in 32 games.
“It’s really good news for Jack, it’s really good news for the football club and of course I’m really pleased for him because he’s improved a lot and he loves the game," said head coach Patrick Vieira. “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.
“Jack going to play for England U-21s will send a message to the players that the league is good enough to get to the international level. I just want him to enjoy it – it will be a great, positive experience to be surrounded by players who play in the Premier League and I just want him to show how good he is because if the manager called him, it means he deserves it.”