For Harvey Elliott, the game started like a whirlwind. He could do nothing but watch as his Blackburn side conceded nine seconds into Tuesday night’s game against Championship leaders Reading, allowing Yakou Meite to steal in and open the scoring.
Moments later, though, the Liverpool loanee was free on the right flank, with time to get his head up. He curled a sumptuous cross into the path of Adam Armstrong, who swept home to level the scores inside four minutes.
It was a frantic opening, and perhaps the perfect game for Elliott to be a part of. There is no room to breathe in the Championship, no time to dwell on the ball. Even the most gifted players - and Elliott is certainly in that category - need to be constantly alert.
This will all form part of his education. There will be games that go in a frustrating direction, that don’t always allow the youngster to play the kind of fluid, skilful football he’s capable of.
And this was very much one of those. Blackburn came up against a confident Reading side, already clear at the top of the division and looking to widen the gap to the teams below them.
No sooner had Elliott created the equaliser than Reading scored twice more, racing into a 3-1 lead within 18 minutes.
From then on, Blackburn toiled away without much luck. Elliott was among the hosts’ liveliest players, drifting in from the right flank - and sometimes the left - looking to play incisive passes, using his diminutive frame to dart past players and open up spaces.
It wasn’t, though, as productive a night as his last outing for Blackburn, a 4-0 win at Coventry City in which he got a goal and an assist.
Nevertheless, it’s a testament to Elliott’s talent that he still looked a threat even when his side were often on the back foot. Given his youth and lack of experience, his determination to get on the ball and make things happen was impressive.
There will be better days for Elliott and for this Blackburn side, who sit in 12th place after defeat against Reading. Against less organised Championship sides, the 17-year-old will likely prove too quick and too creative.
It’s also telling that Elliott stayed on the pitch for the full 90 minutes again, trusted to conjure something up late on by manager Tony Mowbray while more experienced players like Lewis Holtby were withdrawn.
It didn’t work out as planned in the end, with Reading’s Lucas Joao making it 4-2 with a few minutes remaining. But the play in the final third - much of which Elliott was at the heart of - was not the main issue for Blackburn.
They have scored 18 goals in eight league games, the most of any side in the division, and with Elliott in the side they look an even stronger attacking force. At the other end, they have shipped 11 goals, which will be a concern.
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There is not much Elliott can do about that, other than perform his required duties off the ball. If Blackburn can tighten up in defence, they will probably find that the Liverpool youngster becomes more and more influential, able to make the difference in close games.
Lancs Live, reporting on the game, described the evening as a crucial learning curve for the teenager in what was ultimately a difficult evening.
And from a Liverpool perspective, the hope will be that Elliott faces and overcomes more challenges like this one as he continues his development away from the club.