Noel Whelan has thrown his support behind emerging Liverpool starlet Harvey Elliott, backing the teenager to play a significant role this season with the first-team.
The 18-year-old enjoyed a promising start in the Reds’ 2-0 victory over Burnley at the weekend, impressing both the club’s coaching team and neutrals alike.
“He had a fantastic season with Blackburn, and now Liverpool want to keep him around for this season. He’s now their future,” the former Leeds United star told Football Insider.
“When you lose a player like Shaqiri, it’s great to have a younger player like him there to help. Why would you need to go out and buy someone for a big fee when Elliot is ready to take that place?
“You’ve brought this young player in to develop and nurture, why stifle his development by getting someone else in?
“He’s now got an opportunity to become a part of the first team in the Premier League this season.”
The Fulham Academy graduate earned a spot in the first-team squad after a remarkable season in the Championship last term with Blackburn Rovers.
Though the jury’s still out with regard to the importance of a new signing for us this summer, it’s especially clear that Elliott’s level is well and truly beyond the second division – the Premier League appears very much to be his calling.
It’s early days, of course, and we’re sure Jurgen Klopp won’t want to risk the young Englishman becoming the latest victim to crushing expectations but the early signs have certainly been very encouraging.
You’d expect the likes of Thiago Alcantara, Fabinho and Jordan Henderson to be regular starters but the youngster has already shown a level of maturity that suggests a relatively prominent role for Liverpool this term wouldn’t be beyond the realm of reality.