Curtis Jones has been somewhat of a revelation this pre-season.
The 17-year-old isn’t even 18 until next term, but has been used regularly by Jurgen Klopp, even alongside new signings Fabinho and Naby Keita in midfield.
Klopp has spoken in length about the Scouse youngster and is clearly impressed by what he’s seen, although has interestingly claimed Jones has entered the first-team group in a very different manner to Trent Alexander-Arnold and Ben Woodburn!
“He has to adapt to the group; the group have adapted already to him, he was in last year together with Rafa Camacho, another really young boy,” the boss told Liverpoolfc.com.
“They are different and the two boys before that came up like this were Trent Alexander-Arnold and Ben Woodburn. How they came in, they were really role models – not shy, but looking around, ‘What can I say?’ Curtis is different, Rafa is different.
“Curtis is a proper Scouser – I don’t know if I have the right words, but he is not shy to say a few things and probably that’s a surprise for one or two players! It’s easy, he accepts the rules of the group, there is no doubt about that.
“Football-wise he of course stepped up, that’s how it is. He is a tall boy but still very mobile, good at dribbling and stuff like that, but now we need to make sure he finds the right moment to pass the ball – and dribbling is not for dribbling, it’s to change the situation in a better way and then to pass the ball.
“But it’s easier to train that than to show somebody how to dribble, which is quite natural. It’s cool. Physical-wise [he is good] and has talent as well, but there is a long way to go.
“That’s a big challenge for all of us, how will he react to all the different public things, family at home, friends at home… there’s a lot of different challenges ahead. Because we’ve had these young boys around in the last few years, I think we are little bit better in dealing with that.
“We don’t have them for 24 hours around, just seven or eight hours at the training ground, so there are 16 hours where a lot of things can happen. We will work on that. We see his potential and want to help him to be the best he can be. As long as he is ready for that, the future is bright.”
We don’t think Jones will feature for the first-team this term, but it’s very promising that he’s making such strides at the moment.
This summer will give him great confidence to step up to the U23s, as he actually began last term in the U18s under Steven Gerrard.
Jones is tall and physical, but likes to dribble and is adept at using his body to shield the ball from other players.
Hopefully he’ll get a runout this evening against Manchester City in what’s likely to be one of the toughest matches of our pre-season.
But you can guarantee the situation won’t overawe him!