News of Harvey Elliott’s promise has been a (semi-?) bright spot in a troubling season for Liverpool fans. Elliot, who turned 18 earlier this month, has shown himself to be hard-worker who is smart on the ball while on loan with Blackburn Rovers, who currently sit 15th in the Championship.
Elliott has impressed in how well he progresses the ball, lodging incredibly high expected assist (xA) numbers (per Instat, he has an xA of 10.31 for the season thus far), and performs well in most attacking metrics (see Thomas Black’s Wyscout-based image below). Those worried that he might not adapt to the physicality of the Championship likely found themselves pleasantly surprised.
Harvey Elliot in comparison with other Championship attackers so far this season. He ranks fairly high in the majority of metrics within the dashboard. I'm very intrigued to see how adapts to Premier League football over the next few seasons.— TB (@TomasBlack_) April 24, 2021
Any feedback would be appreciated! pic.twitter.com/sBmOqeMdrA
Speaking to CBS Sports recently, Elliott articulated the challenges specifc to the English Championship.
“In the Championship you don’t get much time on the ball. Everyone’s in your face, if not trying to get in your face behind you.
“The tempo of the game, it’s is very, very high. I can remember playing Watford going into the game and it was 100 miles an hour in the first 20, 30 minutes. And I thought surely, it’s not going to be like this for the whole game. And when you’re up against a top side like them, it was. They’re always trying to pick you off and always trying to find a dope in a team that just switches off and work their way around him to try and create a chance.
“You have to think that one step ahead before you even get the ball: where I’m going to play or where I’m going to take my touch. You need to have care and detail in everything you do.”
It seems he’s been more than ready for the challenge, and has been a bright spot for Blackburn Rovers fans amidst a challenging season — even if it’s clear that his best performances are ahead of him as he learns and adapts.
His strong performances in 2020/21 have earned him a nomination for the EA Sports Young Player of the Season at the 2021 EFL Awards, and he is now on the three-man shortlist alongside Michael Olise (Reading) and Max Aarons (Norwich City).
There will be an EA Sports public poll published on Wednesday for fan vote; the results of this vote make up 25% of the overall result, with the majority of the decision based on the votes of a judgement panel.
The winner of the award will be announced on Thursday.