Harvey Elliott “going to be in the Premier League for sure” after loan breakthrough

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Blackburn and former Liverpool midfielder Stewart Downing has tipped Harvey Elliott to establish himself in the Premier League, after his standout loan at Ewood Park.

Elliott recently notched his 10th assist of the season with Blackburn, adding to his tally of five goals to become the most productive teenager across the Premier League, Championship, League One and League Two.

While manager Tony Mowbray has limited his starts in recent weeks, and Rovers’ form has taken a downturn, it has been arguably the perfect loan for the 17-year-old.

And while Blackburn’s promotion bid looks to have ended, sights can be set on next season and a step up for Elliott, which could see him take a role as part of the Liverpool first-team squad.

Downing, speaking to Goal‘s Neil Jones, believes he could be ready for the Premier League already, as he shows the potential to be a long-term fixture in the top flight.

“From what I’ve seen up to now, he’s going to be in the Premier League for sure,” Liverpool’s old No. 19 said.

“I know [former Liverpool scout] Jonathan Woodgate well, and he’s quite close to Michael Edwards.

“He asked me about Harvey when he came to Blackburn, and I was like ‘fucking hell, he’s brilliant!’.

“It’s his game understanding. When to pass the ball, when to dribble, when to come inside, when to stay wide. For someone so young, it’s top-drawer.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, March 24, 2012: Liverpool's Stewart Downing in action against Wigan Athletic during the Premiership match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Downing is clearly impressed with Elliott, having played alongside the youngster 13 times so far, and his connections to Woodgate – who worked with Liverpool for seven months between 2016 and 2017 – could give an indication of the club’s thinking.

However, the winger faces a challenge if he is to return to Anfield next season, with Downing accepting that will be difficult to supplant Mohamed Salah on the right.

“Woody told me they have high hopes for him at Liverpool, and I can see why. But he knows better than anyone that he has a big job on his hands to get into the team,” he continued.

“It’s one thing doing it at Blackburn, but we are talking about a team that wants to win Premier Leagues and Champions Leagues.

“Liverpool have to challenge, and Harvey has to get Mo Salah out of the team!

“But things can happen. If Salah leaves or gets injured, then he may get a chance, and then it’s up to him to take it.

“He’s got the quality, and playing with better players will bring the best out of him. And Klopp obviously likes him, so he has a chance.”

BLACKBURN, ENGLAND - Saturday, January 16, 2021: Blackburn Rovers' Harvey Elliott during the Football League Championship match between Blackburn Rovers FC and Stoke City FC at Ewood Park. The game ended in a 1-1 draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

According to Downing, Elliott “does the simple things well” and “seems to have limitless energy,” and despite there being inevitable dips in his contribution, the 36-year-old maintains that even during quiet spells “he is still our most creative player.”

Thriving in a struggling team could highlight the teenager as an even more valuable asset to Liverpool, with the mental side of the came equally as important as the technical.

Whether he will return to Merseyside to play a regular role next season remains to be seen, but the praise of an experienced player such as Downing will be hugely encouraging, as it is clear Elliott has a bright future with the Reds.

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