Harrison Reed interview: Fulham don’t fear ‘huge’ Man City challenge... we’ve earned Premier League respect

Harrison Reed has been a mainstay for Fulham under Marco Silva  (ES)
Harrison Reed has been a mainstay for Fulham under Marco Silva (ES)

Harrison Reed will come full circle when he lines up to face Manchester City at Craven Cottage on Sunday.

The midfielder will be in the Fulham side who have the tough task of facing a team in blistering form and coming off the back of Wednesday night’s 4-1 demolition of Arsenal.

It is a daunting prospect for any player but, for 28-year-old Reed, it will not compare to the stress of his Premier League debut, aged 18, a decade ago.

Trusted by then-Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino, he was thrown on late on against City to help his side earn a point at St Mary’s. Reed admits it was his “most nervous moment in football”, but this time he knows he belongs on this stage.

“Manchester City are the best team in the world,” says Reed, who has been a key player for Fulham in their impressive season under Marco Silva. “It is a huge challenge, but one as a player you have to look forward to, as you can test yourself against the best. We want to go into the game and cause an upset.

“I feel confident going into every game. We fear no one. We go into every game to implement our style — that never changes. We will do the same on Sunday.”

Having played against Samir Nasri and Aleksandar Kolarov on his debut in 2013, Reed now goes up against Kevin De Bruyne, just days after his imperious display against Arsenal.

Asked whether he enjoys facing players of the calibre of the Belgian, he says: “Sometimes! But it is a tough job. He is one of the most exceptional players in the Premier League with his quality, but when you come up against him, and I don’t think it is spoken about enough, you can just see how hard he works for the team.

“He is everywhere, in and out of possession. He is a really good player, but I hope to come out on top on Sunday.”

Reed will also come up against Erling Haaland, who has scored 49 goals in all competitions this season and has Everton icon Dixie Dean’s English record of 60 goals in his sights.

Reed will be tasked with limiting the influence of Kevin De Bruyne at Craven Cottage (Getty Images)
Reed will be tasked with limiting the influence of Kevin De Bruyne at Craven Cottage (Getty Images)

“He has taken the League by storm and he is improving every week,” he says. “He probably has my vote [for PFA Player of the Year].”

City can knock Arsenal off top spot with a win, but Reed is talking up Fulham’s chances of springing a shock and causing a twist in the title race.

One of the favourites to be relegated at the start of the season following their promotion, Fulham are on course of a top-half finish. Reed was confident they would prove the doubters wrong.

“There’s no getting away from it, you hear it all,” he says. “You have to use it as motivation or it gets to you. I think the whole team has done that. I feel that as the season has gone on, we’ve earned respect from teams and fans alike.”

Reed was not always destined to make it in the top flight and had loan spells with Norwich and Blackburn when he failed to break through at Southampton.

I feel that as the season has gone on, Fulham have earned respect from teams and fans alike

He thanks Fulham manager Silva for changing his game and taking it to the next level. “I remember my first conversation with him, he told me how he sees me, which I was surprised about,” he says. “I saw myself as a six, but he said I was dynamic and had quality and could be used in different ways than before.”

With three goals and two assists this season, the box-to-box midfielder has added a threat in the final third.

“I feel at home in the Premier League but with a lot to still improve on,” says Reed. “I have established myself in a side that’s looking up in the table and had a really good season.”