Liverpool gem who Rio Ferdinand dubbed ‘tremendous’ named among world’s best in one category

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One Liverpool youngster has been named among the world’s best footballers under the age of 21.

ESPN have included Harvey Elliott on their annual list of the top players born on 1 April 2001 or later, with the 2022 selection being topped by Erling Haaland, who’s now overage to be considered.

The list was compiled by Tor-Kristian Karlsen, who has worked in scouting and off-field roles at clubs such as Monaco, Watford and Zenit St Petersburg.

The Liverpool gem featured on the lower scale of the 39 players who made the cut, with its author stating of the 19-year-old (via ESPN): “Energetic, lively and light-footed, the England U21 international presses with intent and opens up space with his movement.

“On the ball he adds to the fluidity of the game by way of instinctive touches, directness in his passing and excellent dribbling abilities. His left foot – though underused from set-pieces and long-distance shooting – is of a high standard, too.”

A number of reported Anfield transfer targets feature on Karlsen’s list for ESPN, including Gabri Veiga, Ryan Gravenberch, Moises Caicedo, Josko Gvardiol, Gavi and – at the top of the pile – a certain Jude Bellingham.

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It’s a telltale sign of Elliott’s vast talent that he’s considered to be worth a place in the same exalted company as some of the most sought-after young players in world football.

Despite missing five months of last season with a dislocated ankle, he’s already made 60 senior appearances for Liverpool before reaching his 20th birthday, which he celebrates next Tuesday.

He’s featured 40 times for the Reds in the current campaign, more than any of his team-mates (as per Transfermarkt), a sure sign of the trust he’s earned from Jurgen Klopp.

Even a former Manchester United stalwart in Rio Ferdinand saw fit to label Elliott ‘tremendous’ in the Merseyside derby last September while on punditry duty for BT Sport (via Daily Star).

The teenager clearly has the talent to become one of the foremost players in his position in Europe over the next few years, and he already boasts plenty of high-level experience which should put him in very good stead as he enters his 20s and takes his career even further.

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