Harvey Elliott has taken to Instagram to defend Pascal Struijk after the Leeds defender’s challenge left the Liverpool teenager with a dislocated ankle.
The Reds were leading 2-0 at Elland Road when the challenge happened on 58 minutes as Elliott looked to dribble into the hosts’ half.
Struijk slid in from behind, hooking the ball away from the youngster with his right foot.
In the process however, Struijk’s left leg trapped Elliott’s left ankle and despite play carrying on for a few seconds, Elliott’s team-mate Mohamed Salah quickly realised the severity of the injury and frantically waved for the game to be stopped so that the 18-year-old could receive treatment before he was stretchered off and taken to hospital.
Harvey Elliott has taken to Instagram to defend Pascal Struijk after suffering a dislocated ankle
The Leeds man accidentally trapped Elliott’s ankle with his left foot despite winning the ball
Struijk was subsequently sent off and was condemned by many fans online who felt that he was out of control when he made the challenge. The game eventually finished 3-0 to Liverpool.
However, Elliott has assured fans that he has no hard feelings towards the Leeds man, writing: ‘Wasn’t his fault what so ever!
‘Neither was it a red card just a freak accident but these things happen in football. I’ll be back stronger 100%. Thanks for all the support.’
Just a few hours after the match, Struijk took to social media himself to express sadness at the incident and wish Elliott a full recovery.
Expert sports surgeon Mike Hennessey, who was in the away end for the match, believes the quick thinking of Liverpool’s medics means that Elliott could return to action in around six months’ time, with surgery reportedly due to take place on Tuesday before a gruelling rehab process begins.
Elliott has already won praise since his awful injury by giving his match-worn shirt and right boot to a patient who was being treated at Leeds General Infirmary next to the England youth international.
The teenage sensation was left in agony before he received treatment and went to hospital
Twitter user @jaytothelo posted a screenshot of a message that read: ‘My son has just broke his arm at a footy game this afternoon.
‘Who comes in on next bed to him… Harvey Elliott and his family. Gives him his LFC top from game and his shoe. Son’s buzzing now.’
Sportsmail columnist Mark Clattenburg felt the challenge by Struijk wasn’t bad and that Leeds had a good chance of winning an appeal against the red card, as Tottenham did when Andre Gomes suffered a similarly horrific injury in 2019 and Son Heung-min was dismissed.
A devastated Struijk has expressed his sadness at being responsible for Elliott’s awful injury
The actions of Liverpool’s medics in putting Elliott’s ankle in place so quickly has won praise
Sky Sports pundits Gary Neville, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Jamie Redknapp all felt the red card seemed unfair.
Neville said: ‘The most important thing is the boy, but I’m not sure it’s a red card. We’re watching it up here but we can’t show it.
‘The red card is a result of the injury rather than the tackle. It’s not a good one. Players who saw it originally have walked away in shock. Jurgen Klopp is furious.’
Redknapp and Hasselbaink both felt that Struijk’s intention to win the ball should have been taken into account.
‘I feel personally it’s an innocuous challenge. Does he mean to hurt him? No, of course he doesn’t,’ said Redknapp.
Sportsmail’s Mark Clattenburg believes Leeds could successfully appeal Struijk’s dismissal
Jamie Redknapp (left) and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink (right) felt Struijk’s sending-off was unfair
‘I feel sorry for Struijk. I wish him a speedy recovery. I would ask, if he hadn’t broken his ankle, would he have sent him off? I don’t think so.
‘Sometimes you can get out the way of challenges, sometimes you can’t. Sometimes accidents happen. It’s a contact sport. I think he’s made an honest attempt to get the ball. It’s one of those horrible moments.’
‘I’m with Jamie,’ said Hasselbaink. ‘I don’t think he’s trying to hurt the player, he’s going for the ball. I find it really difficult to give an answer.
‘We don’t want to see people getting hurt, no matter who it is, or getting bad injuries. But we want to see fair tackles, and initially it was a fair tackle.
‘It’s a very difficult one. We’ve seen more dangerous tackles and nothing happens. I thought it was an innocent tackle – it’s tough to take. I really hope he comes back stronger.’
Jurgen Klopp was emotional after the game as he reflected on his young star’s awful setback
Elliott’s manager Jurgen Klopp was understandably emotional afterwards saying: ‘It is a bad injury. He played again an incredible game he is an incredible player. Now he is out.
‘Do I want such a young boy having this experience so early in his career? No, but it is the case. We have to be there and we will be there.
‘We will play football without him but, we will wait for him as well because obviously he is top, top, top player.
‘I saw the situation and then I could see immediately the effect because I could see his foot – not in the right place. That is why we were all shocked, absolutely.’