Leeds United were in action over the weekend with two friendlies ahead of the commencement of another Championship campaign. But while the first-team’s trip to Cagliari received the immediate attention of the club, a few men were left behind in England to face Girona in an almost behind-closed-doors affair.
Assistant coach Pablo Quiroga was given the reigns to lead United against the Spanish Segunda Division side, as Carlos Corberan and Diego Reyes had joined Marcelo Bielsa in Italy.
Quiroga, a long-term ally of Bielsa having worked with his compatriot at Athletic Bilbao, Marseille and Lille, would oversee a five-goal thriller, as his Whites XI faced a familiar foe in Samuel Saiz at Manchester City’s Etihad Campus training complex.
It was Saiz’s Girona who fashioned the first real opening of the game, though, as Marc Gual blasted the ball just wide of Kamil Miazek’s post after ten minutes. But it would be United who opened the scoring, with Jack Harrison cutting inside to pick out Clarke Odour on the edge of the box, who calmly stroked the ball under the Blanquivermells ‘keeper.
The Montilivi natives would go in at the break two down, as well, as 5 ft 7 Harrison remained in the thick of it to fire a half volley into the top corner of the net, after connecting beautifully with Jordan Stevens’ teasing cross toward the penalty spot.
Stevens and Harrison had early second-half chances to further stretch the Whites’ advantage, but the 19-year-old acquired from Forest Green Rovers could not find the net while the post denied Manchester City loanee Harrison from 25 yards.
Girona then got a foot back in the game after a penalty was awarded for an alleged push by Barry Douglas, before we earned a spot-kick of our own which Ezgjan Alioski converted. Johan Mojica then pulled another back for the Segunda Division side, but United held on to win the game 3-2.
Parts of the Elland Road faithful reacting to the pre-season fixture were taken aback by Harrison’s eye-catching first-half volley, with one supporter quipping: ‘Where is the real Jack Harrison and what have you done with him?’
Others suggested the winger on loan from Manchester City could be in for a great second season at Elland Road, having struck four goals in 39 Championship encounters last season, while assisting four across all competitions.
Here’s how these fans reacted to his goal against Girona…
— Daryl (@DarylRS29) July 28, 2019
A bit tasty
— Dumpfor (@Dumpforsp) July 28, 2019
Harrison on fire. Always liked him just think he needed time which was proved towards end of season
— Nineteen19 (@Leeds_Carajo) July 28, 2019
Where is the real Jack Harrison and what have you done with him?
— Lee (@Cheekychappie5) July 28, 2019
Him and costa will have great seasons this year
— dee (@deegillen) July 28, 2019
If he does well this season (and I hope he does), he will deserve great credit. He’s worked his ass off all summer to turn himself into Jack Harrison 2.0!!! Go on lad #lufc
— Kev ???????? (@teoethan1) July 28, 2019
I wanna see him upfront has a similar work rate to Roofe and if he can actually get on the end of crosses like that goal he could be massive.
— bluejam (@lufcwtf) July 28, 2019
That’s it til next pre season now ????
— Matt Hill (@MattyHill83) July 28, 2019
That pass to odour was fit
— Daryl (@Daryl1706) July 28, 2019