Jack Harrison is excelling in a new phase of his career with Leeds United. The Englishman is enjoying a strong start to life in the Premier League, picking up three goals and four assists in 16 games, helping newly-promoted Leeds create a cushion between themselves and the relegation zone. Still, connections remain to his time in MLS with New York City FC, and the midfielder recently reflected on the place where he started his professional career.
For starters, Harrison says he maintains contact with his former NYCFC teammate Frank Lampard, now the Chelsea manager.
"We were always close when we were in New York as well," Harrison told CBS Sports' Que Golazo podcast last week. "Whenever I come against Frank I always want to do well just to prove a point to him. The last game I didn’t do too well against Chelsea, but I’m hoping to redeem myself the next time we play them."
Harrison acknowledged that the veteran presence at NYCFC meant he saw what "the right mentality" was for a player, but his time in New York was about more than just learning from renowned players. For him, it was the perfect place to start his career after spending his teenage years in Massachusetts and New York. Coincidentally days removed from next Thursday's MLS SuperDraft, Harrison reflected on first being selected by the Chicago Fire in the 2016 SuperDraft before they traded him to NYCFC.
"I was happy to go to Chicago originally and do my best there," Harrison said. "I think deep down in my heart New York is where I always wanted to be after being around for so long. It was somewhere where I always wanted to be and felt it was like my second home there."
Harrison took so much to New York that there are aspects he misses about the city, including some of its most notable aspects.
"I think just the overall vibes in Manhattan, it’s hard to explain but it’s just a different way of living," Harrison said. "I also enjoyed the energy I got from being around the people there. For me, the New Yorkers are so nice to me. Everyone says that New Yorkers are so rude and this, that and the other, but they were always really nice to me."
Most notably, though? Harrison misses New York pizza.
"The pizza is nowhere near as good, I can tell you that right now," Harrison said.