Liverpool winger Harvey Elliott was only 17 in April, but already has a World Club Cup and UEFA Super Cup medal to his name.
The product of the Fulham youth academy, which became the youngest player in the Premier League at the London club, in May 2019, only 30 days into the age of 16, is highly valued both at Liverpool and throughout Europe.
When his youth contract at Fulham ended, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain were among the competing clubs to get his autograph, along with Real Madrid and Liverpool.
As reported by Athletic’s James Pearce, Real made the move for the young player in the summer of 2019, inviting him to their Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, letting it seep into the history and prestige of the most successful Spanish and European clubs.
A year earlier, Real had beaten Liverpool in the 2018 Champions League final in Kyiv, a match that saw the Reds star Mohammed Salah be kicked out of the game after half an hour with what could only be described as the destruction of the armbar by Los Blancos defender Sergio Ramos.
Unseen by the referee, Salah left the field and Liverpool finally lost the game when Real scored three goals in the second half.
Upon entering the locker room as part of the Bernabéu tour, Elliott was shown the clothes of Real captain Ramos, and was asked if he wanted to meet with the Madrid legend.
“No, it’s OK, thank you,” said Elliott, as reported by Pearce.
“I don’t like it after what he did to Mo Salah.”
What Real might not know is that Elliott is a Liverpool fan, and the teenager finally chose to do something he had long dreamed of, ignoring the progress of the continent’s biggest clubs and current Premier League champions Manchester City to move to Anfield
The willingness of Liverpool head coach Jürgen Klopp to offer young team opportunities to young players is a big part of the decision, and the club will offer Elliott a new three-year contract – the longest signed by a player under 18 – at the end of the season.
“It’s very easy to be convinced of him when you see him practice,” Klopp said after Elliott made his debut at Anfield in a League Cup match against Arsenal in October 2019.
“He is truly an extraordinary talent, and he is also a good boy. To see him, how he drives the crowd in the corners … I have a few moments where I was really touched tonight, to be honest.
“For tonight we can talk about it as long and as often as you want, that’s great. But they all have to work. The younger you are, the longer your career [ahead] will and they must prepare for it. “
Elliott was also part of the Liverpool youth team that faced Aston Villa in the quarter-finals of the League Cup while the senior squad was in Qatar for their first World Cup Club match.
He is one of the prominent players in the game – a clear star in that age group, and one coach Neil Critchley, who manages the youth team, believes not far from the senior team.
“He is not too far away because he trains with our first team regularly,” Critchley said after the match.
“He already has exposure to the first team, managers and staff think a lot about him. I think he was a constant threat throughout the night, a very good way out for us. “
With an increase in the number of substitutions allowed when the 2019/20 Premier League season continues towards the end of June, there may be an opportunity for Elliott to get more first-team minutes, before hoping to become regular in the team’s match the next day of the season.