Harrison made his first Ipswich appearance at MK Dons... and the early signs are promising
PUBLISHED: 06:00 25 July 2018
Amid all the talk surrounding Martyn Waghorn's future following the 1-0 win at MK Dons last night, the new Blues No.10 took his first steps in an Ipswich shirt.
Ellis Harrison, signed from Bristol Rovers for an initial £750,000, played 62 minutes just a day after completing his move to Portman Road and gave a glimpse of what he’s all about.
He’s certainly not a like-for-like replacement for Waghorn, should last season’s top scorer ultimately move on, with a sense the move for Harrison was in the pipeline regardless of any interest in Waghorn.
While Waghorn’s game relies on guile, craft and invention, Harrison’s is founded in strength, positioning and graft.
He played ahead of Freddie Sears at stadium:mk, leading the Ipswich line just 24 hours after completing his move from the Memorial Stadium, and was vocal and demanding of his team-mates. He did it all with his socks rolled down to his ankles – he’s something of a throwback.
The 24-year-old showed he is capable of playing the lone forward role, with his hold-up play, ability in the air and desire to bring others into the game in full evidence.
It’s his heading ability which most caught the eye during his 62 minute-display, as he rose above his man on a number of occasions and generated power well beyond the strength of the original ball.
His first appearance may not have yielded a goal, but it did whet the appetite for what could potentially follow for the Blues’ new No.10.
He’s very much cast in the mould of Carlton Morris, the Norwich City youngster who played such a crucial role in Paul Hurst’s Shrewsbury side’s success last season.
Morris scored just six goals for the Shrews during 2017/18 in his 42 League One appearances, but his presence brought others into play with wingers Shaun Whalley and Alex Rodman, as well as attacking midfielder Jon Nolan all hitting double figures thanks to his efforts.
Similarly, Harrison is there to be used and you get the impression whoever fills the Ipswich Town wide berths and the No.10 playing behind him will all be grateful for the Welshman’s presence.
He may not be the most of prolific of strikers himself, with last season’s haul of 12 league goals his best since breaking into the Football League, but there is so much more to his game.
Of course it may take him time to adapt as he makes his first strides in the second tier, but the early signs are promising. Should Waghorn move on, with Derby reported to be close to completing a deal last night, Harrison will have the additional battle of being compared to a forward who the Ipswich fans have taken to since his move from Rangers last summer.
But the early signs are good.