Harry’s game – Freedman embraces being the son of an international footballer

STALYBRIDGE Celtic’s Harry Freedman embraces being the son of an international footballer rather than it being a hindrance to his own career.

Harry in action for Stalybridge Celtic

The 18-year-old forward, an early season capture by Celtic, is the son of Dougie, who is currently Crystal Palace’s sporting director and an ex-Scotland player.

Harry, a forward like his father, said: “To me he is just my dad who has always been around.

“He has been the best coach I have every had and taught me everything I know. It has helped that I also play an attacking position.”

Harry said it is occasionally mentioned who his father is but it is something which does not bother him.

“I am making my own career without him,” he said.

Harry’s football journey is an unconventional one as he was never attached to a professional club’s academy system.

“I just played for fun with my mates in Wilmslow for Cheshire Phoenix and it was not until I was aged 16-17 that I decided to give it a go,” he explained.

He initially joined Curzon Ashton the season before last, playing for the reserves/Under-21s on a Saturday and their U17s on a Sunday.

Harry went to FC Halifax Town in 2018 simply to train with the club which was then managed by Jamie Fullarton, a former team-mate of Dougie at Crystal Palace.“Jamie liked me and gave for a contract and I was part of the first-team squad last season which was amazing as it was my first proper club,” he recalled.

Harry made only one league appearance for the Shaymen which was at Hartlepool United towards the end of the season as a 72nd minute substitute in a 2-1 defeat in front of a crowd of 3,018.

“Hartlepool are still a big club and it was a big crowd and nerve-wracking, but a great experience,” he recalled.

Harry left Halifax soon after Fullarton’s sacking.

He said: “The new manager (former Oldham Athletic head coach Pete Wild) didn’t fancy me. It was frustrating because I had done well pre-season.

“He knew Celtic manager Simon Haworth which is how I came to sign for Stalybridge.”

Harry added Wild allowed him still to train with Halifax which he did three mornings each week along with two evenings with Celtic.

He admitted to not feeling comfortable with the arrangement so left Halifax completely.

Harry is now training full time at Curzon Ashton, where an undergraduate men’s academy is based, as well as his stints with Celtic.

Since signing for Celtic in early September, he has made three starts and been on the bench for a further eight games.

He has impressed with the way he glides across the pitch which could be something to do with doing gymnastic training when he was aged 11-12 and a member of a club near where he lived in Essex at the time.

Harry said: “Gymnastics is great for conditioning your upper body.

“I was a small kid and it made me stronger. I was good at pull ups on the parallel bars.”

There has been frustration after Harry recently strained a thigh in training and missed three straight wins at Bamber Bridge and Matlock Town in the league, which lifted Celtic into the play-off places in BetVictor Northern Premier League, premier division, and at Ashton United in the Integro Cup.

Harry’s dad Dougie became a Crystal Place legend but also played for QPR, Barnet, Wolves, Nottingham Forest, Leeds United and Southend.

“I can remember his later years at Leeds and Southend but not playing for Palace. I have to watch those clips on YouTube,” he said.

Dougie managed Palace, Bolton Wanderers and Nottingham Forest before becoming sporting director at Selhurst Park.

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