Harvey Elliott absence explained as Curtis Jones helps England to semis

Liverpool youngster Harvey Elliott has returned to the England U21 squad and is in contention to face Israel on Wednesday.

The 20-year-old was a surprise absentee as the Three Lions claimed a 1-0 win over Portugal in the quarter-finals of the European Under-21 Championship on Sunday.

Elliott’s omission came despite him having scored a stunning solo goal in victory over Germany in the group stages four days earlier, leading to presumptions of an injury blow.

However, This Is Anfield understands that the Reds midfielder’s departure from the England camp was pre-planned and related to a family matter.

And he is already back with his team-mates in Georgia as they prepare for a midweek clash with Israel in the semi-finals of the tournament.

SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND - Tuesday, September 27, 2022: England's Harvey Elliott during the International friendly between England Under-21’s and Germany Under-21’s at Bramall Lane. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Elliott will hope to use the coming days to prove he should be part of Lee Carsley’s favoured XI, after starting just one of England’s four games thus far.

However, he is likely to find that difficult given the Three Lions’ form, which has seen them win all of their games without conceding a single goal.

It is that run of results that led Elliott to suggest Carsley’s men should fancy their chances of going all the way in Georgia when speaking last week.

“We want to win,” he said. “That’s our main aim, our only aim to be honest.

“We’ve got a massive group and a great bunch of lads, with unbelievable talent, so who says we can’t win.

“It’s just down to us to keep applying ourselves in games, keep taking this confidence into each and every game and think we can go out there and beat anyone – which we can. We just need to keep going.”

Though Elliott was absent, Curtis Jones made his third start of the tournament on Sunday and played the full 90 minutes in Kutaisi.

England’s progress to the semi-finals means the pair may not return for pre-season with Liverpool until their training camp in Germany.