Jack Diamond on why he chose to re-join Harrogate Town on loan from Sunderland AFC
Sunderland winger Jack Diamond has rejoined the League Two Sulphurites for a second loan spell and will remain at Wetherby Road until the end of the season.
The 21-year-old enjoyed a successful stint with Harrogate during 2019/20, helping the club secure an historic first-ever promotion to the Football League and scoring in their 3-1 National League play-off final triumph over Notts County at Wembley.
There has been plenty of speculation regarding the possibility of a re-union with the highly-rated attacker after Blacks Cats boss Lee Johnson said last week that he was happy for a player who made 24 League One appearances last term to leave Wearside on loan in order to aid his development.
Town supporters have been desperate to see Diamond back in North Yorkshire and it was confirmed by Sunderland earlier this week that Harrogate had made an approach. But, with a number of other clubs also vying for his services, it was no foregone conclusion that he would necessarily end up back in yellow and black.
However, the player himself has revealed that the challenge of coming back to a place where there is already plenty of expectation on him to deliver really appealed to him.
“It feels great to be back. It’s nice to see some familiar places and be back in a good place,” Diamond said.
“Coming back presented a good challenge in itself. I’ve already done a lot here and finished off on quite a high when I left [after Town’s Wembley triumph].
“To come back here can be seen as a bit comfortable but I think it’s more of a challenge than anything just in the fact that I have to replicate what I’ve already done and I’m already held in a high regard. I think it’s a good challenge to face.”
Diamond’s early performances for Town were rather inconsistent, however by the time he returned to Stadium of Light in August 2020 he had developed into a far more effective footballer than the one who first turned up in Harrogate.
In total he made 32 competitive appearances, netting five goals in between terrorising opposition defences with his pace, trickery and direct running style out on the left wing.
“I grew a lot as a player,” Diamond said of his first spell working under Simon Weaver.
“I had some ups and downs and then found consistency, which is key for a player like me. All the lads helped me so much with their advice.
“There is no time in football to stand still, you’ve always got to keep improving yourself and I think to come on loan is one of the best things.”
Diamond already knows Weaver, his back-room team and the majority of Town’s current playing squad, which will undoubtedly make adjusting to life in League Two much easier, though he played down the significance of this factor in his decision-making process.
“It was a factor, but the main thing is the football,” he continued.
“It’s a good thing having friends and stuff but the end of the day everyone has ambitions in the game.”