When Harvey Elliott suffered a catastrophic ankle injury against Leeds United in September, he was appearing in just his fourth match of the season. While four matches is an incredibly small sample size, the promise, talent, and maturity he showed over the 250 minutes he played had everyone who watched him in awe.
In his brief introduction to playing in the Premier League for a title contender, he wasn’t just holding his own, but standing out as a key player, and his potential looked limitless. That’s what made the injury so heartbreaking. It was very quickly apparent that the player many of us had already come to adore was going to be on the shelf for a long time.
Fortunately, the updates on Elliott’s status as he works on regaining his fitness have all been quite positive thus far, and manager Jürgen Klopp gave another update in his press conference today ahead of Liverpool’s Saturday meeting with Southampton.
“I saw him running this morning,” Klopp told the assembled media. “He has a foot injury and there are rusty mornings when you get up and it does feel rusty, but he is running outside now with full body weight on it, that is a good sign.”
Another good sign is that Elliott has handled his injury layoff well from a mental perspective. It can be quite difficult to deal with the mental aspects of being sidelined for months at a time, and this can create problems for even world-class athletes. Fortunately, Elliott’s maturity and support system have helped keep his spirits up.
“When he will be back I have no idea,” admitted Klopp. “From a mental point of view, Harvey is rather an old soul, I would say he is very mature for a young age. He is completely fine with the situation, he has accepted it, he deals with it.
“Everybody around tries to help him. I think I must try and cheer him up some days, but it is rarely needed because he has a brilliant family at home and is a rather positive fella.”
The German manager also made a point to stress that what matters most is making sure the 18-year-old recovers fully before returning to the pitch. A young, talented prospect is not a player you rush back from injury, so every effort is being made to ensure he is truly ready before his name appears on the teamsheet.
“And yes we all hope from a physical point of view a young age helps him to recover quickly but quickly is not so important. Fully is the main thing. At the moment, and I hope I don’t eat my words, but I cannot see a scenario where we would think about rushing him back.
“He is our long-term prospect and each day we can get him back earlier is great, but we will not rush that.”