Former England coach backs ‘high performer’ Harris

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Harris (16) is one of the first names on Wigley’s team-sheet for Fulham under-23s this season and the former Southampton manager and England U21 assistant coach says the former St Clement School pupil is likely to be hot property if he continues on his current trajectory.

Harris – a Wales international at U17, U18 and U19 level – scored twice for Fulham U18s against Chelsea in October, having netted two goals in eight appearances for the U23s in Premier League 2 Division II.

‘He’s a starter for the U23s now, it’s as simple as that,’ said Wigley.

‘The only time he’s missed out on playing is when a member of the first team, who’s come back from injury, comes down to us to play.’

Wigley added that chances to impress first-team manager Marco Silva could have come sooner, were Wales coaches not so keen to deploy their ‘best player’ at every opportunity.

Harris, who scored for Wales U19s earlier this season, is set to report for U17 national duty for their European Championship qualifying games against Ukraine, Portugal and Kazakhstan.

‘One of the things we’ve not been able to do, because of him being on international duty, is send him up to train with the first team when their players are away on international duty,’ Wigley explained. ‘He’s been away with Wales U19s, the U18s and now the U17s.

‘The next step for him is to train with the first team and we’ve very fortunate to have a manager [Silva] who likes to have a look at young players. He watches all of the reserve games and when he’s got seven or eight away on international duty he takes four or five from my group.’

Discussing his hopes for Harris’s career, Wigley said: ‘I want to see him play for Fulham’s first team. Then, if we can get him there, the world is his oyster.’

Wigley also has another Jersey product, Marlon Fossey, on his books. The former Janvrin School student was on the brink of making his first-team and Premier League debut with Fulham three years ago, before back-to-back long-term injuries struck.

‘If Marlon stays injury free he will have a very good career,’ Wigley said. ‘He will make his mark, I’m sure about that.’

Full interview in Thursday’s JEP.

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