Curtis Jones: The Liverpool lad with swagger who is a cross between Sadio Mane and Adam Lallana and could – talkSPORT.com

Posted: December 7, 2020 at 4:55 am


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Curtis Jones is a Liverpool lad who looks like the latest star to emerge from their very impressive production line.

Trent Alexander-Arnold signifies the trust placed in young players at Anfield hes already played 145 times for the club and is still just 22.

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Jones appears to be following in his footsteps and the praise for the 19-year-old no less lofty as he makes his breakthrough in the 2020/21 season.

Often it is injuries that give young players their chance and the midfielder has been the player to benefit the most.

The Reds are in the midst of an injury crisis with several first-team players sidelined, including Thiago, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez.

Jones has made seven starts so far, with three additional substitute appearances, scoring three times, including the winner against Ajax in the Champions League.

It wasnt too long ago that the likes of Jay Spearing and Jon Flanagan were the brightest young talents to come throughLiverpools academy.

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It is a different story under the Jurgen Klopp regime those coming through now look like potential superstars.

One of Jones academy coaches compared him as a cross between Sadio Mane and Adam Lallana and he was flattered by the lofty praise.

Speaking to Danny Murphy for talkSPORT, Jones said:Ive not really ever compared myself to another player. I would always say that my style of play is similar to players that have a bit of flair in a game, to be confident on the ball and stuff.

To be referred to as [similar to] Mane and Lallana, wow!

Mane is just a different level in terms of playing he finished fourth in the Ballon dOr. I spent two years around Lallana and the stuff he used to do in training, I was blown away by it.

To be refereed to as those two, Ill take it.

Liverpool are the reigning Premier League champions, with Jones picking up a medal last season, and won the Champions League in 2019.

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Their squad if packed with international superstars but the teenager knows what he needs to do to fit in with the team.

He said: I just go and play but I think for any young lad who is trying to get into a team, you have to have courage and confidence and try and come up with something that someone else in your position doesnt do a lot of.

People will see our team and see Henderson, Gini (Wijnaldum) and Milly (James Milner) and will see how hard they will work and defend.

Its mostly Mo (Salah), Sadio (Mane), Bobby (Firmino) and Diogo (Jota), they are the ones who are getting the goals.

Im trying to bring something different from the centre-mid in the team.

When asked if he was nervous joining the Liverpool first-team, Jones added: I was nervous but I didnt panic. It was a bit of a balance. As a young lad thats coming in, you have to be confident.

Theres a fine line between tipping that and showing you are cocky, which Im not.

The boys were great. Its not like Virgils like Im Van Dijk and hes strutting around the place.

The boys are great and have guarded me well. It made me more relaxed and feel more welcome.

Like Alexander-Arnold, Jones is a Liverpool lad and joined the clubs academy when he was just nine.

He was first given his opportunity by manager Jurgen Klopp back in 2018 during pre-season friendlies but the German has been well aware of his talents ever since he joined the club in 2015.

Speaking last month when asked about Jones development, Klopp said: Very, very positive. Not too surprised about the sports part of it because from the first day we saw him he was an exceptional talent.

Im five years at the club and I saw him five years ago for the first time. Everyone could see what an exceptional player he could be.

When you are in an environment like a top class football team and you are one of the top talents in the club, that can do a lot of things to you as a person.

His personal development is more positive than his sports development. Great lad, super player and did really good for us last season already and this season especially.

Hes just made the next step and Im really pleased for him and good for us as well.

Jones will have plenty of competition for his place in the Liverpool starting line-up as players return to fitness, including treble-winning, international superstar Thiago.

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The Spaniard was the Reds marquee acquisition in the summer but has featured just twice due to injury and coronavirus.

Jones has the chance to make himself undroppable to Klopp and keep Thiago out of the team when he returns early in 2021.

Former Aston Villa striker Gabriel Agbonlahor toldtalkSPORT Breakfast: They are getting their chance because of all the injuries but in football sometimes thats when you get your chance and you have to take it.

It happened to me when I was a 19-year-old. There were a lot of injuries and illness at the time and I got my chance to play, I scored on my debut and I stayed around the first team.

Players like Curtis Jones, if he can continue that form then why cant he leave out the likes of Thiago when he comes back or Chamberlain?

This is where youve got to take your chance and become undroppable just like Jota is doing.

It could be reminiscent of when Liverpool signed World Cup winning striker Karl-Heinz Riedle from Borussia Dortmund in 1997.

Hed just won the Champions League with Dortmund but signing for Liverpool didnt work out too well as he was phased out in favour of a certain Michael Owen.

Jones is by no means the finished article, though, with Liverpool hero Ray Houghton, who won two league titles with the club, seeing improvements that can still be made to his game.

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Houghton told talkSPORT: Ive watched a lot of him and hes been a little bit too negative at times. Hes been playing backwards and square.

Id like to see him, because hes got that ability, looking forward a little bit more and start making the passes that are incisive, and get in behind the opposition.

Weve seen him score goals, hes got a terrific shot on him from distance and hes got to utilise that a bit more.

When hes in the team he needs to be more creative, use that confidence hes got. Hes a local lad and when the fans are finally back in the stadium they will take to him because they always want to see one of their own do well.

Its up to him then, the more game time he gets he needs to show his class time after time. Its like a rehearsal for the future because hes going to be a regular at some stage. At the moment hes a bit part player as such but when he does come in he needs to be more dominant.

Id like to see him be a bit more dominant because hes got the ability to do it, he just has to show it a bit more.

Lets not forget Jones is still only 19 and played just 25 senior games for Liverpool.

Theres plenty of time for his development to continue but the expectation is there for him to be a star at Anfield for many years to come.

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Hes already had a special moment in scoring the winner against Ajax in the Champions League to send his team through to the knockout stages.

talkSPORT host Adrian Durham said: At 19, a teenager, he plays with intelligence so he knows exactly what to do in that little role he had just behind Jota on the right. He knew exactly how to play that role, the job that was being asked of him, how to operate in a specific role in a three-man midfield in a Champions League game.

He wasnt overawed at all. He had the football intelligence, the end product, got the winner, dynamism and confidence.

A word to sum it up swagger.

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Curtis Jones: The Liverpool lad with swagger who is a cross between Sadio Mane and Adam Lallana and could - talkSPORT.com

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December 7th, 2020 at 4:55 am