DONS MOVE UP HARLEY'S STREET
By Rupert Webster
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Equally comfortable in defence or midfield, Harley finally broke into the Blues' starting XI last season after three years at the club which saw him rise through the youth ranks.
Indeed, the Maidstone-born player performed with such assurity that he was tipped as the solution to England's long-standing problem down the left side.
Unfortunately, Harley has found his first team opportunities at Stamford Bridge this term limited by Celestine Babayaro's return from Olympic duties and the resurgence of fit again Greame Le Saux.
Last season, Harley got forward to send in 52 crosses, of which 25% found a Chelsea shirt, to indicate that linking him with Dons striker John Hartson could be a shrewd move by Terry Burton.
Harley also scored two Premiership goals, while Blues' team-mates Le Saux and Babayaro managed none between them.
However, despite showing glimpses of his talent during his brief outings so far in the 2000-01 campaign, new Blues' boss Claudio Ranieri has decided to loan Harley out in order for the 21-year-old to gain some valuable first-team experience.
And, although making the step down to the First Division may seem like a tough one for such a young player, Harley will surely be up for the task.
He has already displayed his tenacity this term by emerging with the ball in 80% of his challenges - a better rating than both Babayaro and Le Saux - and should be an excellent addition to the Wimbledon squad.
Harley still sees his long-term future at Stamford Bridge, and will undoubtedly expect to be given further opportunities by Ranieri on his return but the youngster will relish the opportunity of regular first-team action and goes straight into the Wimbledon squad for the trip to Crewe on Saturday.