Blackburn manager Tony Mowbray has implored Harvey Elliott to find a “bit more” of a selfish streak as he looks to add goals to his assists during his season-long loan spell.
The 17-year-old has hit the ground running with Rovers, slotting into a new environment with ease and duly being rewarded with a starting berth.
Despite his age, Elliott has proven time and time again that he has both the talent and maturity to be a success and in six appearances to date on loan, he has notched one goal and three assists.
Results have been mixed, with only two wins alongside three defeats, but Elliott has already left his indelible mark on Rovers – where he has played every minute of their last six fixtures.
He has shown he has an eye for a pass, where he currently averages 2.8 key passes per 90, and is a hard worker off the ball and now Mowbray is looking to expose a selfish side of Elliott as part of his continued development.
“I’ve been talking to him and I think he needs to be a bit more selfish in the box,” Mowbray told the Lancashire Telegraph.
“Having spoken to the staff at Liverpool, they feel as if he sees himself as an assist-maker rather than a goalscorer. And ultimately, any top, top player, you have to look at their statistics as the season unfolds. How many assists, how many goals do you get?
“If he is going to play up front for us, at the moment, he’s playing in the front three, if in 20 games, he’s only had three assists and one goal, it’s probably not going to be enough for Liverpool to look at him and think he can come in our team and do this.
“Adam Armstrong has set up three or four but he’s scored 11. Ben Brereton has scored two but he assisted a couple more the other week. So, when you add your assists and goals up you know Harvey is going to want to score more. He’s scored once and he’s got amazing feeling in his feet.”
That Mowbray speaks enthusiastically of seeing Elliott return to Liverpool a more rounded player says a lot of his management style, and it is certainly heartening in what is a ruthless industry.
He is certainly in the same camp as Jurgen Klopp that ‘if you’re good enough you’re old enough’, and talent is a quality Elliott has in abundance.
“He’s 17-years-old, he’s an adolescent, yet the talent is there to see,” Mowbray added.
“Harvey Elliott just brings a bit of everything. Decision making, weight of pass, when to keep it, when to play forward. Some of the deliveries from set-pieces are just begging to be headed or put into the net.
“You can see the quality of the kid. It’s amazing to think he is so young. We are delighted we have him. He’s a really refreshing and nice lad to work with.
“He asks questions. He understands football and we are delighted that he’s here.
“He’ll be a huge asset for Liverpool and I’m sure they wanted to make sure he’ll be in the right environment and if they don’t they’d take him out of it.
“I have to look after Blackburn Rovers but at this moment it’s benefitting all parties for this young boy to be playing in our first-team and affecting results.
“You can see he’s a people person and this young boy will feel very safe in Jurgen’s hands.”
Blackburn are currently 12th in the Championship, eight points behind league leaders Reading after 11 games.