Harvey Elliott reveals why Chelsea released him as a youngster

Harvey Elliott has revealed why he was cut from the Chelsea youth ranks when he was coming through, having tried out at “a few clubs” as a youngster.

Earlier this season, Elliott hit the 100-game milestone for Liverpool – doing so before his 20th birthday as the fourth-youngest in the club’s history.

Only Michael Owen (19 years, 363 days), Raheem Sterling (20 years, six days) and Robbie Fowler (20 years, 167 days) hit a century at an earlier age, which is a testament to Elliott’s standing at the club.

But while he has been playing senior football since the age of 15, it was not always smooth sailing for the former Fulham midfielder.

Speaking as part of Liverpool’s The Reds Roundtable series, Elliott revealed that he was released by Chelsea as he was deemed “too small.”

“So I was at a few clubs when I was younger. I was at Chelsea when I was a kid, and they released me because they said I was too small,” he said.

“And then I was just playing with my friends for a year, like Sunday League, [when I was] 11, 12.

“I was at Fulham, like a pre-academy thing, like you go sometimes, once a week, twice a week, to train, but I didn’t really enjoy it.

“But then Fulham contacted my father and said ‘look, I hear he hasn’t got a club, does he want to come for a trial?’.

“Then I went for a trial at Fulham when I was 13 and then [was there] up until 16 when I left.”

“I thought I was finished”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, August 28, 2021: Liverpool's Harvey Elliott looks dejected after missing a chance during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Chelsea FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It is not the first time Elliott has explored his failure to break through at Chelsea, having spoken about his release in an appearance on the club’s We Are Liverpool podcast last year.

“I remember them saying that technically I was one of the best in the group, but I was too small,” he said at the time.

“I don’t think I’ve felt anything like that in my football career so far in terms of how I felt after they said that.

“Being a young kid knowing you can’t get that opportunity to play or get signed.

“I thought I was finished, and I wasn’t going to have a football career.”

Sat alongside Elliott as part of the panel, Jurgen Klopp, academy director Alex Inglethorpe and team-mate Cody Gakpo all showed their admiration for his journey, with Gakpo describing it as “special.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, December 13, 2023: Liverpool's Harvey Elliott (L) and Mohamed Salah during a training session at the AXA Training Centre ahead of the UEFA Europa League Group E match between Royale Union Saint-Gilloise and Liverpool FC. (Photo by Jessica Hornby/Propaganda)

As he continued, he explained the work he put in, led by his father Scott, to overcome the physical barriers he faced as a young player.

“I think the only thing that was going to stop me was potentially my strength, speed, stuff like that,” he said.

“So my dad, the whole summer, off-seasons, was like ‘no, you’re running up big hills’.

“I used to do one-to-one sessions with a former Team GB sprinter called Lukesha Morris, she took me, basically taught me sprinting techniques to accelerate the first couple of steps.”

Despite his stature, the 21-year-old has become a mainstay in the Liverpool squad, with only Darwin Nunez (52) making more appearances than his 51 this season.

Chelsea‘s loss has proved Liverpool’s gain, and having only recently turned 21, there is a lot still to come for a player deemed “too small” for Stamford Bridge.