Harvey Elliott ready to be Liverpool’s Mr. Versatile – with Milner his inspiration

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Harvey Elliott has explained how James Milner has helped him adjust to Liverpool life, and why he uses him as inspiration for playing “wherever I’m told to play.” 

Elliott has already returned to Kirkby following the end of his loan spell at Blackburn, where he performed in a variety of positions beyond his favoured right wing role.

The 18-year-old also played on the left, as a No. 10, up front and even in central midfield, with Rovers manager Tony Mowbray utilising his exceptional creative talent and skill on the ball.

Now setting his sights on a long-term place in the Liverpool side, Elliott is prepared to be Jurgen Klopp‘s Mr Versatile, following in the footsteps of Milner.

“Wherever I’m told to play, I’m more than happy to play,” he told the Ranks FC podcast.

“It’s just that you need to adapt yourself into positions and different positions, that you may not like, but if it’s going to keep your career going [you have to do it].

“If you look at the likes of James Milner, he can literally play every single position on the pitch, and I think that’s what is keeping him going. Obviously, he’s a tremendous athlete as well.

“So I think just adapting to different positions, not moaning or sulking when you’re told to play in a position that you don’t really want to play.

“I remember I was playing centre-mid for Blackburn – in all fairness, I enjoyed it, it’s nice for me to experience different positions and to get different opportunities to play elsewhere. It’s just different learning.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, May 23, 2021: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp (L) and James Milner after the final FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Crystal Palace FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 2-0 and finished 3rd in the table. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Milner has taken an active role in helping Liverpool’s young players to settle into the first-team setup, and he is regularly praised by the likes of Elliott and Neco Williams.

The Reds’ returning No. 67 continued this in his interview with Ranks FC, describing the 35-year-old as “an icon at Liverpool.”

“Milly’s a legend, he’s helped me along the way. He’s helped all of us youngsters all the way,” Elliott added.

“He’s an icon at Liverpool, as well as in football.

“He’s sort of been through what I’ve been through, making his debut at 16 as well. Being where he is now is where I want to be playing years on. He’s a legend.”

During the conversation, Elliott also discussed his desire to emulate Mo Salah in scoring more regularly for Liverpool, and revealed that work is already underway behind the scenes to improve his cutting edge.

“I’ve sat down and had talks with the Liverpool coaches about it, and extra training sessions to get myself into the position,” he said.

“So when it comes into the game I’m confident in myself that I can get a shot off and potentially score.”

Elliott may be a young player – 17 years younger than Milner, in fact – but he has a mature head on his shoulders.

And as he eyes a first-team place at Anfield next season, it is encouraging to hear that he is willing to work for it.

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