Curtis Jones - The Next Step
There have been many young Liverpool players that were primed to make it to the top, however the list of players that actually make it is rather short. Liverpool cannot simply blood youth and maintain levels, thus the domestic cups and throwaway Champions League games are used to give minutes to certain players.
Trent Alexander Arnold represents the current academy graduate that has fully established himself in the first team. His rise through the Liverpool system is a sign that it can be done, however it took his world class ability to get there. Before that you would probably look to Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher, two Champions League winning legends of Anfield. The three names listed will point to the standard required to achieve success, and it can be argued that the squad is now as strong as its ever been. The strength of those around the young players, such as Curtis Jones & Harvey Elliott, offer both education and obstacle when looking to establish themselves.
Curtis Jones exploded onto the scene with a curling effort beyond England’s number one, Jordan Pickford. He has now become a common factor within the Liverpool match day squad, but the details surrounding last season must be considered going forward. For the majority of the year, Fabinho found himself playing in central defence, with Jordan Henderson also filling in. With a raft of injuries across the midfield and defence especially, Jones became a necessity for Klopp. With the new season hopefully offering a more settled squad, the high volume of minutes he attained last year may well drop considerably this year. Injured players create opportunities for others, fit and firing no so much, especially under a Klopp who likes a tight starting group.
For any promising young player, the minutes attained on the training ground with Jurgen Klopp are vital. It is however equally important to play competitive games in order to reach that potential. This next period is the most important in Jones’ career, and with so many wonderkids never quite making it, he may well need a loan to succeed. Whether or not he decides to stay and fight for his place, or leave to secure minutes may determine the trajectory of his Liverpool career.
When Jordan Ibe arrived onto the scene at the end of Brendan Rodgers reign, he was touted as the next Raheem Sterling. Sterling had been recruited from QPR, and upon his departure it was assumed Ibe could step up. Despite a few moments under Klopp, he was eventually sold on for £16 million to Bournmouth. His own career has stuttered and fallen away, and is an indication of how promise can drift away. Every single club has players that are destined for the top, yet most will fall between the grate and down the football pyramid.
With Harry Wilson likely to leave Liverpool this summer, his own situation could mirror what is to come for Curtis Jones if he were to seek a loan. A gifted young player can impact, but consistently being able to contribute within an elite environment is critical to success at Anfield. The way in which Trent Alexander Arnold rose to his current standing was due to both brilliant coaching, and immense individual talent. Curtis certainly has the size, ability and surrounding environment to succeed, but the minutes required may be limited.
The current midfield options read as follows; Thiago Alcantara, Fabinho, Jordan Henderson, Naby Keita, James Milner & Alex Oxlade Chamberlain. If reports are to be believed, a Gini Wijnaldum replacement is top of Michael Edwards wish list, and this would most certainly place Jones far down the list of Klopp starters. For a gifted young player to impose his game amongst a raft of senior players such as this, it would take a massive impact. The correct option may well be to see how Milner and others cope, with certain players fitness longevity often in question. The patience that will be required could offer Curtis his chance, as when most Liverpool players are loaned out, they return never to actually forge a career as a red.
The riches at Jurgen Klopp’s disposal may be daunting, but with training ground tuition and a little bit of luck, then maybe Jones can see pathway into the side. Consideration of his future will no doubt be spoken about this pre season, and only when the window shuts will he know his standing. Homegrown status is sometimes as important as ability, and the fact Jones possesses both could figure in Klopp’s season plan.
The waiting game for many has already begun, and even the skipper, Jordan Henderson, has questioned whether his role is as secured as others. To succeed, the hope will most certainly be that Curtis can deliver when called upon, and in that he can be part of what is likely to be a transitional period for the reds midfield. The weeks are dwindling, deals are being made & players are both arriving and departing. Curtis Jones will most likely be eagerly awaiting whether his pencilled in name becomes permanent, in Liverpool’s quest to regain the Premier League.