Wesley Nathan Hylton Harding (born 20 October 1996) is an English professional footballer who plays as a defender, either at right back or centre back, for Championship club Rotherham United. He made his senior debut in the EFL Cup in August 2017 for Birmingham City, having previously played in the National League North for Alfreton Town.
Life and career
Early life and career
Harding was born in Leicester and attended Beauchamp College, in Oadby, Leicestershire. He represented Leicestershire and Rutland at athletics. He joined Birmingham City's Academy from Aston Villa at the age of 16 and took up a scholarship with the club in July 2013. Interviewed soon afterwards, the player assessed his strengths as speed and heading, and felt he needed to improve his technical ability. He was a member of the Birmingham team that eliminated Liverpool's youngsters from the 2014–15 FA Youth Cup, going on to lose in the quarter-finals to Leicester City's youngsters. He was a regular in the development squad over the season, and scored the opening goal for the team that won the 2015 Birmingham Senior Cup final. Harding signed his first professional contract, of two years, in May 2015. At the time, academy coach Steve Spooner summarised him as "a 24/7 professional footballer ... strong, aggressive, tenacious and much improved with the ball".
Harding was included in the first team's pre-season training camp in Spain. During the 2015–16 season, he was used at right back as well as his preferred centre-half position, and he was a member of the Birmingham reserve team that lost the 2016 Birmingham Senior Cup final to National League North champions Solihull Moors. He was one of three youngsters – the others were Dom Bernard and Josh Dacres-Cogley – who began their 2016 pre-season training with the first team. On 9 August, Harding joined National League North club Alfreton Town on a month's youth loan. He went straight into the starting eleven for the following day's match against Gainsborough Trinity; playing at right back, he played 90 minutes and produced what Alfreton's website dubbed a solid performance in a 4–0 win. He kept his place for the next two fixtures, but then suffered a torn knee meniscus. Once he regained fitness, he finished the season with more appearances than any other player for Birmingham's under-23 team, which he often captained.
Former Youth Teams
Former Senior Teams
Former Club Staff