As the current record holder for the youngest player to appear in the Premier League and the second youngest to make his competitive debut for Liverpool, Harvey Elliott has borne the brunt of expectations for some time now.
Would he succeed? Or would he give in because of the pressure from the “wonderkid” label, like so many others before him?
In October, the 17-year-old made a surprise loan to Sky Bet Championship side Blackburn Rovers and it’s safe to say he’s making waves in Lancashire; with 15 games to his name in all competitions, Elliott has four goals and five assists to his name.
Ahead of Saturday’s trip to Stoke, we take a look at his first two months on Tony Mowbray’s team.
How has he behaved so far at Ewood Park?
When Elliott signed his first professional contract with Liverpool this summer – a year after his much-publicized arrival from Fulham – Reds boss Jurgen Klopp spoke of a ‘perfect culture’ at the club that would help Elliott’s development .
He had made eight first-team appearances in 2019/20 – including seven before he turned 17 – and played just under an hour of the landslide 7-2 victory over Lincoln in the Carabao Cup on September 24, this which suggested that the plan was working well.
On the domestic transfer deadline day, he signed a one-season loan deal and made his debut on October 21, playing the full 90 minutes to the right of the top three as the Rovers were beaten 3-1 by Watford to Vicarage Road.
It was three days later that he began to show his talents. A goal from Adam Armstrong on either side of the break put Rovers 2-0 against Coventry at 10 and, just after the hour mark, Elliott scored his first senior goal to wrap up a slick counter, before providing an assist decisive to Sam Gallagher to come home and round off the victory.
Two more assists followed over the next month before scoring a sublime second goal for Rovers in the 2-1 final victory over Millwall, where he opened up his body and rolled up a lavish effort in the upper left corner after the Armstrong’s layoff.
Against Norwich he scored one that was arguably even better. After recovering the ball on the straight sideline, the teenager cut the flank and displayed great close control to pass one defender into the penalty area, jump the challenge of another and send an effort dialed in front of Canary Islands goalkeeper Michael McGovern.
He then scored two in two games with the first of two goals for the Rovers in Wednesday’s 2-1 win over Rotherham.
In terms of goal involvement, Elliott’s four goals and four assists put him second on the Championship’s Most Creative Teenagers list and, with just one top-six team to play until the visiting Swansea on Jan. 19, he will be hoping to add to his return over the holiday season and into 2021.
What was said about him?
It’s clear that Mowbray is a big admirer of Elliott and the invention he brings to his side.
After the aforementioned goal against Norwich, he praised the teenager, saying: “He’s a wonderful talent; he’s also a brilliant person to work with. I tell the team to give him the ball. , much like I did with Bradley Dack before he got injured.
Most teenage goals and assists in the 2020/21 league season
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“The particular talents of the team are usually the ones who make the right decision with the ball, they make the right decisions. Harvey has some strengths that Bradley has: that confidence when he has the ball. We are delighted to work with him and I hope he’s enjoying his time here. “
The 57-year-old had also previously praised Elliott’s versatility, having impressed in several different roles he was asked to play in the first months of his stay in Lancashire.
“Liverpool haven’t asked anything about where we play it,” he said in November. “I think they trust us to do what’s right for us and for him. I think they’re just happy he has playing time.
“He really takes care of the football and we try to use the talent he has in various positions and if it’s in and around the box because we dominate the game and get in and around their penalty area, then we play it higher.
“But if we want to play it a little deeper to get passes to the upper end of the field, we can do that and I think a play really dictates it.
“I have no problem with whether we play him deeper or play him higher because at the end of the day he has the knack to adapt and get the job done.”
And there is also a clear mutual respect between Elliott and his temporary manager.
The teenager said: “He’s a really good manager. He’s always on everyone but in a positive way, and that’s what you need from a manager just to keep everyone on their toes, to allow you to work.
“Even when we’re leading 4-0, right off kick-off he tells us to press and collect the ball and I think that tells you what kind of man he is. He just wants us to keep pushing. and not to let go, so having him as a manager is a very good help. “
What is Liverpool’s vision?
Analysis by Richard Morgan of Sky Sports:
Liverpool fans may have been disappointed to see Elliott loan the entire season to the Blackburn Rovers in October. But in reality, even with the club’s chronic injury issues so far this campaign, the small striker would have only had limited playing time at Anfield given Klopp’s multitude of world-class options in this campaign. field of land.
Much better for getting miles in the legs and a vital game experience, which the 17-year-old did with a lot of poise, impressing everyone with his attitude, how quickly he adapted to the life at Ewood Park and, most importantly, what he actually produced on the pitch.
So what’s next for Elliott? Well, the England Under-17 international will be called back to Liverpool for good at the end of his loan, with club assistant manager Pep Lijnders recently revealing how much the player has ‘missed’.
“I miss him! I would have loved to continue working with him, but it is a good decision of course because he can play many games and he can show what he really is,” said the Dutchman.
And in the long term, Elliott clearly has a bright future at Liverpool, with whom he signed his first professional contract – which runs until 2023 – in July.
The problem he will have in the future, however, is trying to find his way into Klopp’s first team plans, given the offensive riches the German has at his disposal.
Luckily for Elliott, however, he is at the very start of his footballing journey and with the world at his feet – and in particular, his magical left foot – while a season of learning his trade at Blackburn will only serve expand their football. education before returning to Merseyside.
And don’t be at all surprised if Elliott is really a part of the Reds first team next season.