90min
Liverpool

Liverpool's Harvey Elliott is already a cut above the Championship

Ross Jackson
Harvey Elliott is terrorising Championship defences
Harvey Elliott is terrorising Championship defences / Jan Kruger/Getty Images
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On paper it always sounds like a brilliant idea. Send your talented youngsters off to the lower leagues so they can earn valuable first-team experience, instead of having them playing relatively meaningless games with the youth teams. Simple.

But, we all know that football isn't played on paper, and some of the Premier League's most exciting prospects can become lost in the combative, physical, demanding rigours of a 46-game, lower-league season.

Harvey Elliott looks a brilliant prospect
Harvey Elliott looks a brilliant prospect / Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Harvey Elliott isn't your average top-flight prospect, however - he's a future superstar.

The 17-year-old has been terrorising Championship defences ever since Liverpool opted to send him to Ewood Park on a season-long loan deal, and under the stewardship of Tony Mowbray he's beginning to prove that he's already too good for England's second tier.

Elliott has four goals and eight assists in his 22 appearances for Rovers, and has proven himself to be capable on either flank as well as being able to play centrally when called upon, an ability to adapt which could be key as he looks to make the step up to Premier League level.

While Adam Armstrong has rightly received endless plaudits for his fine goalscoring form this campaign, the guile, movement and creativity provided by Elliott has undoubtedly been key to the Rovers frontman's stellar campaign thus far.

Elliott's talent and ability has never been called into question, though Liverpool's decision to plunge him into the Championship where he would be plying his trade against teams managed by the likes of Neil Warnock did leave some questioning whether he was physically up to the task.

But if anything, the teenager has used his slight frame and nimble footwork to his advantage, proving too quick and too clever for the majority of Championship defenders. Perhaps his most impressive showpiece moment of the season so far came in Rovers' 2-1 defeat to Norwich in December, as he completely bamboozled one of the best defences in the league.

The Liverpool loanee picked up the ball on the right touchline and without a second thought began to drive at the Canaries backline, before making a mockery of former Premier League defender Grant Hanley as he effortlessly slid the ball through his legs and showed the composure to slot it past Michael McGovern.

It would be amiss to completely disregard the setup Elliott finds himself in at Blackburn; despite being a former centre-back himself, Rovers boss Mowbray has struggled defensively in management, more often than not reverting to a gung-ho 'we'll score more than you' approach.

Blackburn's current side is testament to that fact - despite sitting in eighth position in the Championship, only two sides have scored more than the Lancashire-based club, yet their leaky defence means they find themselves languishing in midtable rather than fighting for automatic promotion.

Elliott is undoubtedly benefitting from the freedom afforded to him by Mowbray, though that shouldn't take away from the youngster's performances.

Parent club Liverpool have got a big decision ahead of them come the end of the season, with Elliott already proving he's too good for the Championship at just 17 years of age.

The Reds could choose to loan him to another club at a higher level and look to fast-track his development, or there's even the possibility they decide to keep him at Anfield as they seek to bolster their midfield arsenal - an option which seemed ridiculously farfetched just a few months ago.

Elliott has made the prospect of becoming a feature in Liverpool's matchday squad next season a genuine possibility, and there isn't a much bigger compliment you can pay the electric wideman than that.

But regardless of whether he is loaned out again next season or not, he unquestionably has a huge role to play at Liverpool in the future. A special talent who's proved he's got the appetite to match, and will go on to become a superstar of the game.

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