The 16-year-old has been set to train with Jurgen Klopp’s first team squad having arrived on Merseyside from Fulham during the summer transfer window
If his haircut has been anything to go by, Harvey Elliott lacks nothing in terms of confidence.
Liverpool’s new signing has been, by all accounts, a Gareth Bale fan, and the similarities between the two extend beyond the fact both are partial to a top knot.
Like Bale, Elliott has been an attacker with a wonderfully-gifted left foot. Like Bale, he has been exposed to first-team football before his 17th birthday. Like Bale, the teenager appears to have the world at his feet.
Elliott arrives on Merseyside – the deal has been done but Liverpool are reluctant to publicise it while they attempt to negotiate a suitable compensation with Fulham – as one of English football’s most exciting young prospects, someone viewed at Anfield as a potential first-team star of the future.
He has been already the youngest soccer professional ever to represent Fulham at senior level, debuting in a Carabao Cup second0round tie at Millwall last September, aged just 15 years and 173 days.
He has been also the Premier League’s youngest ever debutant, appearing as a substitute for the Cottagers at Wolves in May. The previous record, held by another Fulham soccer professional, Matthew Briggs, had stood for 12 years.
Elliott had yet to complete his GCSEs when turning out at Molineux, or against Newcastle at Craven Cottage a week later, but he showed enough in those cameos to suggest we will be seeing a lot more of him in the coming years.
Those who have watched him with Fulham’s youth teams, or for England’s under-17 side, say he has the potential to go all the way.
“He’s a great dribbler, he’s very sharp and he’s got good feet,” says Danny Murphy, who played for Liverpool and captained Fulham.
Tom Cairney, the current skipper, has described the Surrey-born starlet as “a sensation” and spoken of Elliott’s “frightening” self-belief.
“He does some bits of magic that makes everyone say ‘wow’,” Cairney added.
Though predominantly left-sided, much of Elliott’s football has been played on the right flank, where he likes to cut inside to create havoc.
One assist for Fulham Under-23s, away at Manchester United, stands out, Elliott nipping infield to steer a perfect, slide-rule pass in behind a square defence into the path of his striker.
Another clip, shared by Fulham on their Twitter page, shows him adjusting brilliantly to hook a left-foot volley home from 18 yards against Birmingham. In both instances, the skill and awareness stands out a mile.
The skill here… 🤪
Harvey Elliott’s volley has been a contender for our October GOTM award! 💥
— Fulham Football Club (@FulhamFC) 13 November 2018
No wonder Manchester City were keen to sign him. Chelsea and Arsenal, too, made overtures, while on the continent the likes of RB Leipzig, Paris Saint-Germain and even Real Madrid were interested.
Elliott’s schoolboy terms at Fulham expired at the end of June, and though the Londoners were desperate to retain him, they had long been resigned to the idea of losing him.
Liverpool has been his dream move. Though he grew up in Chertsey, a few miles west of London, Elliott was raised as a Red.
He might have signed as a 14-year-old but opted to remain at Fulham, whom he had joined from Queens Park Rangers a few years earlier.
A trawl through social media brings up one of Elliott’s old Twitter accounts, showing him attending a game at Anfield at the end of the 2013-14 campaign. Mind you, another picture shows him wearing the colours of Real Madrid!
In any case, it has been Liverpool who won the race, and who must now agree compensation with Fulham.
Sources have confided to Goal that the fee could head towards the £6.5 million ($8m) the Reds were ordered to pay Burnley for Danny Ings after his 2015 transfer, such has been the regard Elliott has been held in.
In the meantime, it will be interesting to see just how quickly he can make his mark on Merseyside.
Like Sepp van den Berg, the 17-year-old Dutch defender recruited from PEC Zwolle, Elliott has been viewed as someone who can train with, and challenge for a place in, Liverpool’s first team.
He was in attendance as Jurgen Klopp’s men began their pre-season campaign at Tranmere earlier this month, though was not included as they headed off on their three-game tour of the USA last week.
His initial outings, perhaps, will come for Neil Critchley’s Under-23 side, though he has been, of course, still eligible to play at Under-18 level if needed.
The suspicion has been that he’s well past that stage now, though. Fulham were willing to make him a regular part of their senior squad in the Championship this season, and Elliott will back himself to play his way into Klopp’s eyeline before long.
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“I don’t know if I am using the wrong words in English, but he has been arrogan and positive,” enthused former Fulham boss Slavisa Jokanovic, who gave Elliott his debut at Millwall.
“This kid has the personality. He wants to show you he has been a very good soccer professional.”
It shouldn’t be too long before he gets the chance to do likewise at Liverpool.