James Milner has tipped Harvey Elliott to make a “big impact” for Liverpool this season, explaining how his own breakthrough as a teenager at Leeds can help him give advice.
Elliott is the Premier League‘s youngest-ever player, having made his debut in the English top flight with Fulham just one month after his 16th birthday.
His first outing in the league came almost 17 years after Milner’s own Premier League bow with Leeds in 2002 – which at the time made him the fourth-youngest to do so, behind only Wayne Rooney, Chris Price and Mark Platts.
Milner has gone on to forge one of the longest and most successful careers in the history of the Premier League, with the 35-year-old sitting behind only David James, Frank Lampard, Ryan Giggs and Gareth Barry on the list of all-time appearances.
That puts him in a unique position to guide Elliott in his first season as part of Liverpool’s first team proper, and speaking to LFCTV during pre-season, Milner explained how he is helping the 18-year-old.
“He’s a confident lad and he’s got a great mindset, so he doesn’t need too much guidance,” Milner said.
“But when he’s there, hopefully we can help him along the way – all the boys.
“He’s a top talent, I see him making a big impact this year, but any help we can give him obviously it helps him settle in, gets him up to speed and maybe [he won’t] make the little mistakes that I made.
“If I can stop him doing that, with the talent he’s got, he’s got a big future.”
Elliott is one of the biggest young talents in English football today, and looks poised to emerge as a genuine option for Jurgen Klopp in the new campaign.
At just 18, that would be an impressive distinction for a player currently adapting to a new role in midfield, and Milner is convinced he has the quality required to adapt after a standout loan at Blackburn.
“He’s a top player, I saw it the first time I trained with him, you could recognise how good he was,” the No. 7 added.
“Comfortable on the ball, good vision and a dribbler.
“It’s tough for him coming back after being away last season and getting back to how we play. It’s a different style to how most other teams play.
“I thought he’s had a good pre-season up to now, and obviously the more minutes he gets in and around the boys in these games, the closer he will be.”