Liverpool loanee Harvey Elliott managed to have himself quite a day this past weekend against Norwich City. The young attacking player was influential all game long, seemingly a focal point of the Blackburn Rovers offense.
With his team down a goal against the league leaders, Elliott took an innocuous pass on the right wing, and immediately cut infield and then toward the end line while shielding the ball from a defender rushing over to pressure. As Elliott entered the box, he sized up another defender stepping across the box to force him wide, and deftly touched the ball with the outside of the boot to nutmeg the defender, took a quick step to the side, then squared up to slip the ball under the keeper.
The goal showcased quick feed, quicker thinking, and a calmness in a high pressure situation that belies his tender age. Check out the goal below.
While the goal will get the plaudits, Elliott was impressive all game long. Despite only being 17 years old, he was constantly sought out as an outlet from the defenders and midfielders, and was an engine for the attack all game long. He finished the game with two shots on target from four total shots, added in two key passes (a pass leading directly to a shot), and added in six (6!!!!) dribbles.
While we’ve seen young players excel in the Championship before, there seems to be something a little extra about Elliott. He isn’t just flashing here or there, he has consistently proven to be a focal point of the attack for Blackburn. In fact, he regularly is serving as a creative outlet, averaging 2.3 key passes per game. He leads the team with four assists on the season, and has chipped in three goals, good for second on the team (stats from whoscored.com).
While not blessed with the blazing speed of a Mohamed Salah, he’s fast enough and has a low center of gravity that makes him hard to dispossess, and has impressive short area quickness. More importantly, he is able to do everything at top speed. At one point on Saturday, he sprinted forward to receive a pass, and took it out of the air with the outside of his left boot without breaking stride before driving a right footed ball across the box that was deflected out for a corner.
Elliott is always playing with his head up, and seems to know where his fellow attackers are on the pitch at all times. He also exhibits stellar vision and touch, dropping beautifully weighted balls and and sliding reverse passes to players in dangerous positions. He has all the makings of a creative force, serving as a provider. The biggest step he seems to need to take is getting more touches in and around the box, and to get more shots off overall.
Enjoy a compilation of Harvey Elliott vs Norwich City below!