MX23RW : Wednesday, March 20 10:18:56

Jokanovic keen to keep spotlight off teenager Harvey Elliott

The winger became the club’s youngest ever player, aged 15 years and 174 days, during the Carabao Cup win at Millwall.

Fulham’s Slavisa Jokanovic has no intention of giving Harvey Elliott regular first-team football this season, despite making him the club’s youngest ever player on Tuesday at Millwall.

The winger came on, aged 15 years and 174 days, during the final 10 minutes on an evening when they eased to a 3-1 victory and has since attracted significant interest.

His use of Ryan Sessegnon has demonstrated Jokanovic’s willingness to select young players if their talent demands, but for all of Elliott’s promise the manager believes he has to continue to develop and focus on his education before featuring as he may hope.

Jokanovic has not even seen Elliott — who he called “Harry” at Thursday’s press conference — since Tuesday because the teenager has been at school, and he said: “I don’t want anybody to be confused about this situation.

“He’s definitely a talented player – the club know it – but I found a moment in a game when we were more or less in a comfortable situation for one really young man. He played well, and that’s it. We don’t need to shake his hand and make him confused.

“There’s a long way in front of him for improvement; we gave him a chance to test himself, and that’s it. It’s better talking less about it because we expect in a few years he’ll be a really important player for Fulham; in this moment it’s better for him we don’t mention this situation so much.

“We’ll try and check the schedule of this kid, because he has an obligation with school, with Fulham too, and when we have the opportunity we’re going to keep going, check him, and keep working with him.

“We’d observed him and believe the kid’s strong enough, and shows enough personality to not be under any pressure. He showed quality on the field, and personality.

“I don’t want to talk about big benefits for the player — it’s not especially, it’s only 10 minutes in his life. We expect there’s going to be more important afternoons for him in a Fulham shirt.

“I’m thinking about (Saturday’s opponents) Everton, not about Harry Elliott. Now he must be thinking about homework and working with Fulham, and I’ll try and find a space for working with him.

“Sometimes I must protect especially young players. It’s better, especially for him, that he’s focused on daily work and daily life, and what’s ahead of him.”

Fulham travel to Goodison Park on Saturday hoping to secure their first away league victory of the season, but they do so with Neeskens Kebano still absent through injury and Alfie Mawson also a doubt with a back problem.

“(Everton) are a good team, we are talking about top six English team,” the 50-year-old Serbian said.

“It’s a really complicated away from home game, like the Etihad or Wembley. They are strong and experienced and we know there will be problems there and our job is to find a solution.”


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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool31237170185276
2Manchester CityMan City30242479215874
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs30201957322561
4Arsenal30186663392460
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd30177658401858
6Chelsea30176750331757
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves30128103836244
8Watford30127114244-243
9West Ham UnitedWest Ham31126134146-542
10Leicester CityLeicester31125144043-341
11Everton31117134342140
12Bournemouth31115154356-1338
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle3198143140-935
14Crystal Palace3096153641-533
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2996143242-1033
16Southampton3079143450-1630
17Burnley3186173559-2430
18Cardiff CityCardiff3084182757-3028
19Fulham3145222970-4117
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield3135231857-3914

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