Destiny Day At Wembley For Harrison Reed On Tuesday
Monday, 3rd Aug 2020 09:43
Saints fans will be tuning in to their TV's on Tuesday evening to watch the Fulham V Brentford Championship play off final, but they will be doing so with mixed feelings as well as keeping a sharp eye on Harrison Reed.
Saints message boards have recently been full of talk about Harrison Reed with some suggesting that he could be the man to replace Pierre Emile Hojbjerg.
Reed has certainly ad a decent season for Fulham, but it has been an injury hit one and he managed only around half of the regular season games and might well have missed more
He has now spent the last three season's on loan at Championship club's and had not played in the Saints fist team in a competitive match since May 2017, in that season he started only one game plus another 2 as sub and the 72 minutes in total is the only first team football he has played for the club almost 5 years.Bu
He still has a big reputation in some of the supporters minds though, despite having only started 6 Premier League games with another 11 as sub and those fans are suggesting that he could be the ideal replacement for Pierre Emile Hojbjerg.
Bu the question though is whether he is truly a Premier League player or just a good Championship player and that is why Saints supporters will be watching this play off with interest, although the truth is it will tell us little, the gulf between this clash and a Premier league game is immense.
I would be delighted if Reed did return and become the player we all hoped that he would become, but my feeling is that there is little evidence to suggest that.
He will turn 26 in the coming season and if he was going to establish himself at the club and in the Premier League would have done so by now.
This December will mark the 7th year since Mauricio Pochettino gave him his Premier League debut as a last minute sub at home to Manchester City and he made 3 other appearances off the bench that season, almost a quarter of his total Premier League games for Saints, but that was only 10 minutes game time in total.
The following season saw the arrival of Ronald Koeman and he initially seemed to like Reed, he gave him his full debut in the League and started him 5 times in all and another 4 off the bench, the appearances were sporadic, but for a 19 year old it was something that the player could build on.
But this would prove to be Reed's last real involvement with the first team on the pitch and in 2015/16 aside from a couple of Europa League sub appearances just one ru out of the bench totalling 10 min's would be his only action.
Koeman did not seem to think he was ready for the first team and although Claude Puel had him in his squad he rarely played him, ironically the arrival of Hojbjerg blocking his path further.
So for the past three season's he has been out on loan, each manager we have had in that time and Hasenhuttl is the 4th of them, has had the opportunity to run the rule over him in pre season, but each has chosen to send him out on loan.
Perhaps the first time the club could say that they were sending him out to get experience, but just the first time, when you are 23 years+ you should be challenging for a first team spot, if you aren't then perhaps you are never going to do so.
Five managers have said not, some people will sneer at a couple of them, but they are still experienced footballing men, Mark Hughes for instance might have been an awful manager for Saints, but no one can deny he has done it at the highest level as both player and manager.
The question asked by some though is whether the time on loan has improved Reed, they suggest that the influence of Scott Parker has made him a far better player this season and he is ready to break through, I truly hope that is the case, however I am sceptical, as I mentioned, Reed missed half of the season before lockdown due to injury, Parker only had a limited time to work with him.
So it will be destiny day for Reed, if Fulham win at Wembley then will they wan't to sign him permanently ? They spent big a couple of years ago when they gained promotion, are they likely to do that again is the big question and if so their sight's will be perhaps set higher than Reed.
If they do not win promotion then they might be more likely to sign him than if they do, he has proved himself as a more than competent Championship player and they will want him for next season.
Saints fans will have mixed feeling watching the game, on one hand they will want Harrison to do well, he is a popular player in the fanbase and everyone wants to see him succeed, but the gut feeling would be to want the underdog to win and that is Brentford, add to that they will have a new stadium next season, so there is a chance we could get to go to it.
My gut feeling is that Harrison Reed is a very good Championship player, that he can do a job in the Premier League, but that he isn't a top 10 club player, when I look at our own players my litmus tests are whether they would get in any other Premier League team, whether any other Premier League club would buy them.
There have been rumours of Burnley being in for him, but I take that with a pinch of salt given Sean Dyche's current relationship with his Chairman, it is an easy link for the media to make as Dyche is considering leaving due to a slashed transfer budget.
Many of those who champion Reed as Hojbjerg's replacement are also those that decry Saints as being cheapskates in the transfer window, Harrison Reed is probably worth around £5 million at present, if he had never been a Saints player and the rumour mill was suggesting that we were going to sell Hojbjerg for £25 million and spent only £5 million on his replacement they would be going wild with rage.
This perhaps tells me what I think will happen going forward.
The reason Reed has been out on loan for so long is to do with his wages, it might be on a lower level than most of our other loaned out players, but we have been unable to sell him on due to his wages, now as he enters the last year of his contract things will change and he will be willing to sacrifice the high income for the next 12 months for the security of a long term deal elsewhere.
I wish him well on Tuesday night, I think I want Brentford to win, it would be good to see a new name in the Premier League and I want to be able to go to their new stadium if possible, but if Fulham win I will be happy for Harrison and I hope that whatever the result next season he prospers whether it is at St Mary's, Fulham or elsewhere.
I am sorry to have to give what some will see as a negative opinion, I don't have anything against Harrison Reed, I just try to call it as a i see it, if he did come back to St Mary's and played 38 Premier League games and was player of the year, I would be very delighted to be proved wrong.
Photo: Action Images
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