It’s been a difficult seven months for Callum Harriott. Having signed for Reading last summer, he showed glimpses of real talent in the games he played, most notably when he netted a brace in the EFL Cup against MK Dons and on Boxing Day when he smashed home a 90th minute screamer to wrap up a 3-1 win over Norwich.
Just four days after that victory over the Canaries, the winger was forced off injured against Fulham after damaging his hamstring. 30 seconds later, the match was abandoned due to fog and Harriott must have been cursing his luck that the decision hadn’t been made five minutes earlier.
He was aiming to be back on the pitch before the end of the season but a set-back in April meant that another operation was needed, meaning the 23-year-old was forced to watch the play-off final from the stands and is only now getting close to full fitness once again.
Describing the time after his second operation as the “worst month in life”, Harriott spoke more positively about his recovery...
“It’s going along well. It was a tough one to take, re-injuring myself again. But things are looking good, I’m coming into the final stages now so it’s just about staying on top of it. Obviously I’m as hungry as ever to come back and make up for last year.”
“The physios are really good. I’m pushing them as much as they’re pushing me.”
....and when he might return to first team action.
“I’d say around the start of the season, it probably won’t be August. Probably after that hopefully. But obviously I’m not one to rush back, I’ll go by what I’m told and what’s best for me to do.”
Looking ahead to the new campaign, he said the team was motivated to go one better than last season:
“This team is always hungry. Obviously losing the final, I don’t even want to talk about it. This season we’re just going to push to get promoted. I know everyone is on the same page.”
Like the rest of us, Harriott has high hopes for 16-year-old Danny Loader.
“He [Loader] is my little brother with a bad haircut! He’s a good player. Very, very promising young talent I think. Obviously he scored four goals in the game the other day. He’s got a bright future, he just needs to keep his head down. You know when you’re young and you’re playing in the first team, you’re obviously doing something right. It’s good that you’ve got players a bit older than you to keep you grounded and make sure you go the right way about it.”
Asked about whether other clubs in the Championship spending eight figure sums of money, the winger claimed that it only motivates the Royals squad further.
“We probably just buzz off making them look silly to be honest! That doesn’t really faze us to be honest, we really don’t focus on that side of the game. We just focus on what we need to achieve this year and how we’re going to do it.”
We were speaking to Callum at the launch for the new season’s kit, and the winger commented on the designs:
“My favourite I have to say is the orange. It’s a bit of me that. You want to feel comfortable when you’re out there playing and I think the kit is perfect for that. It helps us and gives us a push. I know it sounds crazy that a kit can give you a push but it genuinely does.”
As he left the room, the winger’s final words were “this season is going to be f*****g” great”. We hope so Callum, we really hope so.