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Manchester United legend David Beckham shows Harvey Elliott path to Liverpool first team chance – Liverpool Echo

Manchester United legend David Beckham shows Harvey Elliott path to Liverpool first team chance – Liverpool Echo

It has signalled the death knell for many a burgeoning Liverpool career.

Rare are the times when up-and-coming youngsters go on to enjoy lengthy spells in the Reds first team having previously been sent out on loan.

Think of the players who have come through the ranks and made a lasting impression at Anfield during the Premier League era.

Robbie Fowler, Jamie Carragher, Michael Owen, Steven Gerrard, all the way up to the present day with Trent Alexander-Arnold and, Liverpool hope, Curtis Jones.

None went out on loan, instead continuing their development at Melwood.

There have been a few notable exceptions – Martin Kelly, Jay Spearing and Stephen Warnock had a few years as first-team squad regulars, for example – but, at least under Jurgen Klopp, loans for youngsters have usually only led to a career elsewhere.

Small wonder, then, there was a murmur of surprise when it emerged shortly before Friday’s domestic transfer deadline that Harvey Elliott will spend the rest of the season at Championship side Blackburn Rovers.

At first glance, the move is a no-brainer.

The arrival of Diogo Jota – and, more pertinently, the decision of Xherdan Shaqiri to stay – has meant there is little chance of first-team action over the coming months for Elliott, who remained on the bench in the Carabao Cup fourth round exit to Arsenal earlier this month.

But nagging doubts prompted by the trend of past Liverpool loanees should be eased by the progress already made by the 17-year-old.

For a start, Elliott had already made a Premier League debut before arriving at Liverpool, becoming the youngest player to appear in the competition while at Fulham in April 2019 having done the same in the League Cup earlier that season.

And he has wasted little time while with the Reds, scoring on his under-21s debut in the EFL Trophy, becoming the youngest player to start a first-team game for the club when making his senior debut in the Carabao Cup win over MK Dons and, in the next round at home to Arsenal, being the youngest to start a game at Anfield.

Elliott went on to become Liverpool’s youngest-ever player in the FA Cup, and the second-youngest to feature in the league. He also scored one goal and provided five assists in seven UEFA Youth League outings and was a regular contributor in Premier League 2 for the U23s.

Liverpool youngster Harvey Elliott celebrates
Liverpool youngster Harvey Elliott celebrates
(Image: Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images)

Similar to Curtis Jones, there is a sense Elliott is already too good for Academy level. Little purpose would be served asking him to turn out this season for the U23s in terms of his development, which will be accelerated by regular action in the Championship.

Indeed, it didn’t go too badly for another youngster who, like Elliott, played on the right wing, had been a focus of attention from an early age, hailed from the south, was making his way at a North West giant and agreed a temporary move to a former Lancashire powerhouse.

The player in question was David Beckham who, after breaking into the first team at Manchester United in the early 1990s, impressed hugely during a short stint at Preston North End before returning to Old Trafford. We all know what happened after that.

Moving to Blackburn means Elliott won’t be compelled to up sticks and move elsewhere, lessening any disruption and allowing him to concentrate on his football.

Jurgen Klopp gestures on the touchline

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The close proximity also means Liverpool can easily keep tabs on his progress, with the Reds having been impressed with how Blackburn boss Tony Mowbray has helped develop previous on-loan youngsters.

Both Jurgen Klopp and assistant Pep Lijnders have expressed not only their admiration for Elliott, but their absolute faith the teenager will become a huge success at Liverpool.

There should be no concerns at his loan move. Rather than be concerned by the past, Elliott has long since demonstrated he’s adept at writing his own history. An interesting campaign awaits.

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