In his first year in the league, New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr smashed a whole host of records for a rookie in the NFL during the 2014 campaign, becoming a worldwide sensation for his incredible one-handed touchdown scoring catch in a game against Dallas Cowboys last November.
There are certainly similarities between Beckham Jr’s season and the one which Harry is currently enjoying in our colours – both players breaking into their respective teams and hitting top form in terms of delivering the points and goals which have made them both household names across the world.
Odell missed the first four matches of the Giants campaign through injury before going on to score 12 touchdowns and make 91 receptions for 1,305 yards in his rookie season in the NFL. He was unsurprisingly named Rookie of the Year, while that catch was voted the NFL Play of the Year with many experts describing it as the greatest catch of all-time in the sport.
It has been a similar tale for Harry, whose goals in cup competitions early in our campaign saw him elevated into our Premier League side in November by Head Coach Mauricio Pochettino. He has gone on to score 14 times in the top flight, including braces in derby victories over Arsenal and Chelsea, netted 24 goals in all competitions and is on the brink of an England call-up.
But, having hit the headlines for their on-the-pitch heroics, Odell believes that both he and Harry will become marked men and will need to up their performances if they are to maintain their form.
“When you put yourself out there as a top-notch player, then you’re going to have eyes on you, you’re going to become a target and people will always be watching you,” explained the 22-year-old, who was at Hotspur Way recently, as part of a promotional tour in the UK during his off-season.
“So a guy like Harry, who has come into the team and is scoring as many goals as he has done, will have opponents who don’t like seeing him score. It’s not that they don’t want him to shine as a footballer, but it’s just that they won’t want him to score against them so they will be doing whatever they can do to shut him out.
“Harry is a young player who has come in and surprised a lot of people with his goals. He will know what he is capable of, but when others start to notice that too, then it’s only natural that you become a target.
“When that happens, it’s important to be ready for the extra attention that you’ll receive from the opposition, but also be prepared to improve your own game and try to always be one step ahead of your opponent.”
Odell was joined at Hotspur Way by fellow NFL stars Lawrence Okoye (San Francisco 49ers), Menelik Watson (Oakland Raiders) and Eric Wood (Buffalo Bills), who spent the day filming video content for NFL platforms and were joined by Brad Friedel, DeAndre Yedlin and Emmanuel Adebayor, all keen gridiron fans.