InterviewHarvey Elliott on 'pre-season' number two, holidaying with Tsimikas and more
Harvey Elliott detailed all the benefits Liverpool can draw from their Dubai training camp that he described as 'pre-season all over again'.
The No.19 is among the 33-man squad in the United Arab Emirates as part of the Reds' preparations for the resumption of club football.
There are, of course, the physical gains the team can make by training in sweltering temperatures and using world-class facilities – but Elliott also believes the close harmony within the group can be strengthened even further by the nature of trips like these.
Liverpoolfc.com caught up with the 19-year-old on day two of the club's stay in the Middle East – read on for the interview in full…
Inside Training: Rondos and games for Reds in Dubai
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Harvey, is this like pre-season again or is it a top-up?
I'd say a pre-season all over again, to be honest. Obviously it's always hard once you come off a little break to get back into the swing of things. The lads have been doing stuff over the holidays and getting themselves in the best shape and best form possible to be able to come into training and resume and just kick on with the rest of the season. We're really looking forward to it. There's no better place to do it than here – hot-weather training and hopefully it'll be a lot easier when we get back to England.
How did you approach the break? Was it about recharging the batteries physically and mentally, or did you need to stay focused because it was mid-season?
A bit of both really. It's been a tough start to the season, a lot of lads have played a lot of minutes and a lot of games. It's just getting that balance between having enough rest but making sure that you're still in form and on top of your game and still in the best shape possible. Since we've started training, the lads have been flying and feel like we've got that perfect balance, which is always good. As well as that, it's just time to mentally reflect, spend some time with our families because we don't really see them much throughout the season because we're always away travelling and stuff like that. It's just nice to have that downtime as well but, as I said, making sure we're staying in form and in shape, which is the most important thing.
You also spent a bit of time with Kostas Tsimikas during the break. What's he like as a travel companion?
He's an unbelievable guy, one of my favourites in the world, to be honest. He's a lovely guy and got a lovely family around him. So to be able to spend time with him, go for food and have a nice holiday with him, it's great company to say the least. If anyone has the experience, you know exactly what I mean! He's just a bubbly guy to be around, always picks you up, which is the most important thing. If you're feeling down or you're not feeling it in the morning, he's there and he's always energetic. What a guy and what a player to be around.
The fact you've got a chance to go away and have a holiday, you might spend a bit of it with one of the other guys – does that show how well you all get on with each other?
Definitely. It's always nice to see the boys. We've created that family in the team and we're always there for one another. A few of the lads were out here earlier and we saw each other, had dinner, stuff like that. It's always nice to have that bond, which is always important going into football matches and training. In the team itself, it's always nice to have that connection. As I said, it's a lovely family around here, the players get along so well, each and every culture is always mingling with each other. Even the youngsters that are coming up, everyone is looking after them and speaking to them. It's a lovely feeling about the group. We're just ready to kick on now and make sure we stamp our foot down for the rest of the season.
Does the camaraderie you develop in camps like this get you through the difficult moments in the season?
Definitely. It allows us to pick each and every one of us up. If one of us is feeling down, you have a whole squad around them to pick him up and to look after him. It's the same for each and every person in the building at Liverpool Football Club. We're all here together, we're all here to help each other out and all get through the tough times together. To be able to spend time with one another at a training camp with lovely weather like this, it's just that nice connection to be able to be around each other [and] know a bit more about one another, to know the ins and outs of each and every person. It's always nice to spend time around each other and hopefully we can do it more often.