Harvey Elliott backed as true heir to Georginio Wijnaldum

Noel Whelan firmly believes Harvey Elliot is the natural replacement for Georginio Wijnaldum, backing the youngster to shine after returning to fitness.

After some mature performances for Liverpool at the onset of the campaign, Harvey Elliot caught everyone’s attention earlier this season. The 18-year-old showed signs of making a promising breakthrough at Anfield until he suffered a serious injury during his team’s win over Leeds United back in September.

Usually, a serious ankle injury is a season-ending fitness issue. But in Elliot’s case, he has returned to full training recently. Earlier in the campaign, the way Jurgen Klopp was using him regularly suggested that the midfielder was becoming a regular for Liverpool. And he could still play a part between now and the end of the season.

Fans and pundits urged Klopp to sign a new midfielder last summer after the departure of key midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum. Liverpool made just one senior signing in Ibrahima Konate and decided against bringing a replacement for the Dutchman.

After his performances earlier this season, Elliot might have convinced Klopp against signing a replacement for Wijnaldum, with the Liverpool manager placing his utmost trust on the 18-year-old. While Elliott’s absence since September has not hurt Liverpool much, Klopp will be delighted to have him back in the squad.

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Now Noel Whelan seems elated by Elliot’s return to training, telling Football Insider how Klopp might have made the right call not to replace Wijnaldum in the summer.

Whelan said, “He’s an exciting player, did fantastically well at Blackburn last season – and you could see that he was hitting the high notes very quickly when he came into the side for Liverpool. Klopp wouldn’t have let go of Gini Wijnaldum without a replacement if he didn’t feel that Elliott was capable in that midfield area. He’s the perfect replacement.”

“This will make him stronger; there’s no doubt about it. There’s always a setback in a football career, and it’s about how you respond. It’ll be fantastic to see him back in action, he’s so exciting to watch.”

It remains to be seen if Klopp is open to involving Elliot heavily between now and the end of the season. Liverpool reached the Carabao Cup final by beating Arsenal on Thursday and have a lot football to play with the team heavily involved in the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup.

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