HARRY HARDING has admitted he enjoyed his football more last season than at any other time in his career – but said that might not be enough to keep him at Lewes.
The former Bromley and Reading ace was a big hit with fans in his first season with the Rooks after joining in November.
The 20-year-old finished an impressive season with a man of the match performance against Harrow Borough and has since attracted offers from clubs in the top two tiers of non league football.
Harding insisted he hadn’t ruled out staying with the Rooks, saying “I’m still really not sure what I’m doing. The last few days especially a lot of offers have come in.
“I am literally going to sit down with my family, meet clubs, and make a decision after that.”
But despite Lewes boss Simon Wormull making it absolutely clear that he was “desperate” to keep the talented midfielder at the club – even assuring the midfielder he would be one of the few players not to receive a pay cut – Harding said the club had not approached him after an initial few communications with him earlier in the summer.
The Kent-based player said he loved his football more at Lewes last season than at any other time in his brief career – impressive considering he was once on Reading’s books.
And he also spoke very highly of both Steve King – who brought the midfielder to the club – and Wormull, who took over when King left in January.
However, fans hoping to see more of the 20-year-old’s elegant passing play in the Lewes midfield again next season may be dismayed to hear Harding talk of the club in the past tense.
“I loved it at Lewes, I really did,” he said.
“I loved my time at Lewes; it’s the most I have ever enjoyed my football. None of us wanted the season to end.
“And my Mum used to love coming down to the Pan to watch me play.
“But I think they’ve almost resigned themselves to the fact that I was going to leave, and no one has said: ‘Can we make you a deal, can we put something on the table?’
“They have said: ‘We’re desperate to keep you’, but they also know there’s been a lot of interest in me from other clubs.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen but I would never rule (staying at Lewes) out, but it should all be resolved soon, hopefully next week.”
Harding said he first spoke to Wormull about the prospects of staying on next season at the start of June, where he said the Lewes boss “explained the situation.”
“I’ve spoken to Worms two or three times,” he said.
“I think Worms wanted to go down the route of getting things sorted quickly. But other clubs have asked me to talk to them.
“He (Wormull) said he was desperate for me to stay and said I would be on the same terms as last season.
“I’m young and obviously want to play at the highest level possible.
“They know three or four offers for me have been made and they’ve said they’re desperate to keep me but they haven’t come in and said this is what we can do for you.”
And although he said Steve Robinson’s decision to stay at the club for next season was a massive boon for the club, he admitted it was looking more and more likely that he wouldn’t be joining his skipper at the Dripping Pan.
“That’s the way it’s looking at the moment to be honest, but in football things can change quickly.
“I’m meeting with a couple of clubs next week and after that I’m going to sit down with my family and agent and decide what’s best for me.
“I want to be a professional footballer. I’ve been it before and I want to do it again. But obviously you have got to be playing in the right team and alongside the right players to do that (to impress scouts from professional clubs, for example). It’s not always about being at a higher level.”
It is thought two clubs from Blue Square Bet Premier and one from Blue Square Bet South have made offers to Harding, while a side from the Ryman Premier Division has also approached the midfielder.