Young forward Harrison Smith became the latest player to make the step up from Boro’s youth academy; signing terms in October 2022. At the time, the second-year scholar had been training with the first team squad. And he clearly made the right impression to be rewarded with a professional deal. But it’s not as if he hadn’t already captured attention prior to his elevation to senior status at the Lamex. The chairman admitted that Premier League clubs had shown the interest in him that’d taken previous youth teamers like Elyh Harrison and Ben Wilmot to a higher level.
Indeed, Wallace said at the time of Smith’s signing: “Harrison has been training with the First Team for several weeks and has shown glimpses of the mental and physical strength required to earn a place in Steve Evans’ squad. We turned down two offers from Premier League clubs for Harrison a couple of years ago, before he suffered an ACL injury that put him out for almost a year. It’s testament to his determination that he’s fought back and earned the respect of the senior pros when he’s joined them.”
Of course, coming back from such a severe injury at an early age is an impressive feat. The next step for Smith is to see if that promise can translate into a first team debut. Time is very much on the player’s side, however. And, as Boro’ have shown before, there is a pathway for talent to make it through. This young forward could well be the next to follow those footsteps. Good things come to those who wait, of course. And it also means that Boro’ could receive a decent fee for a bright prospect in times to come.