Harvey Elliott has earned comparisons to Lionel Messi and is destined for a major career at Liverpool, according to Fulham’s academy director Huw Jennings.
The 17-year-old moved to Anfield from Fulham last summer in a deal still to be settled and for a fee that could reach a record sum.
And Elliott has already made his mark on Anfield, having featured seven times for the first team this season and leading both Jurgen Klopp and former Under-23s manager Neil Critchley to lavish wholesome praise on the teenager.
Earlier this year, an interview staged by Pep Ljinders claimed the Reds manager ‘fell in love’ with Liverpool’s ‘little diamond’ the first time he watched him in training, giving a hint of the big things we can expect to see from the player in the years to come.
And those claims have been backed up by a report in The Athletic, who claims Elliott “raised eyebrows” and “wowed” Liverpool’s senior stars during his first week at Anfield.
It’s also that talent that once saw Jennings compare Elliott to the greatest of them all in Barcelona superstar Messi, with the Fulham academy director also confirming that the teenager was wanted by Real Madrid, Manchester City and Arsenal once it became apparent he would be leaving Craven Cottage last summer.
Elliott, in fact, did go out to travel to Madrid for talks with Real, but their efforts to sign him backfired when they tried to get Sergio Ramos to meet with the player; something that did not go down well with the self-confessed Liverpool fan after the Spaniard injured his favourite Mohamed Salah in the 2018 Champions League final.
Real’s loss was very much Liverpool’s gain and Ljinders admitted the Reds knew they had a serious talent on their hands the very first time they saw the then 16-year-old in action.
“We were like ‘OK, that’s quite impressive for a 16-year-old,” Ljinders recalled.
“When we do the counter-press rondo you see straight away if a player can handle the speed and the decision-making because there’s such a small space in which to play our game.
“What a surprise he was when he came for the first sessions. Some players, they play as if they are already, say 28 or 29. He’s a player who sees so much around him before things happen.
“Everyone sees what a great player he is but behind that player is a great human being and a great addition to our squad. He’s our little diamond of the team.”
Elliott admits Liverpool inspiration
While the comparisons to Messi from Jennings is perhaps placing too high an expectation on Elliott’s shoulders, the player himself does admit that he sees Steven Gerrard as his biggest inspiration in the game.
When asked about his Anfield ambitions in February, Elliott told the Liverpool website: “To win everything with this club.
“I strive to be like Steven Gerrard, to be as big of a legend here as him.
“I want to win the Premier League and the Champions League with this amazing club.
“For me, that’s what I strive towards and I want to help the club in every way possible to accomplish these things.”