The faith Blackburn manager Tony Mowbray has in Liverpool loanee Harvey Elliott as a 17-year-old is remarkable, as he revealed that he “tells the team to give him the ball.”
Despite his young years, Elliott has been one of Blackburn’s most important and influential players so far this season, having joined Rovers in mid-October.
So far, the teenager has scored three and assisted four in 13 appearances for the Championship club, with his latest goal – a solo strike in Saturday’s 2-1 loss to Norwich – his finest contribution yet.
Of the Blackburn players to play 500 or more minutes so far this season, none have averaged more key passes per 90 than Elliott (2.5), with their gameplan built around his creativity.
At 17, this is a major responsibility, and Mowbray hammered that home as he reflected on the Reds youngster’s strike at Carrow Road.
“I haven’t seen the goal back, but seeing him produce a goal like that really doesn’t surprise me,” he told Blackburn’s official website.
“He’s a wonderful talent, he’s a brilliant individual to work with as well.
“I tell the team to give him the ball, much like I did with Bradley Dack before he got his injury.
“The special talents in the team are generally the ones who make the right decision with the ball, they make the right decisions.
“Harvey has assets that Bradley has: that trust when he has the ball. It was a wonderful performance from Harvey.
“We’re delighted to be working with him and I hope that he’s enjoying his time here.”
While it is a lot to expect from a player of Elliott’s relative inexperience, Mowbray’s faith is being rewarded so far as the young forward is stepping up to the plate game after game.
It is becoming increasingly clear that Elliott is a prodigious talent, and while his final-hour switch to Blackburn could have been seen as a backwards step in terms of breaking into the Liverpool squad, it is proving hugely productive.
This time at Ewood Park is allowing the 17-year-old to work on his game and build confidence as a first-choice starter, with his creativity and goalscoring ability matched with a diligent work rate off the ball.
Having already trained extensively under Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool following his move from Fulham in 2019, Elliott is now translating the skills he has learned onto the pitch in the Championship.
The Reds should only benefit from Mowbray’s trust in Elliott, as he looks to be growing as a genuine candidate for the first team at Anfield in the future.