It’s not the easiest thing for a young player to break into Liverpool’s first team, but that has not deterred Curtis Jones. The young midfielder is upbeat and feels as though he’s improving all the time now that he’s regularly training with the senior side.
“Loads has improved”, the official Liverpool website report Jones saying of his development since stepping up to Melwood.
“My understanding of the game, when to move the ball quick, when to dribble and the spaces I find myself in – they’re all definitely better than when I was playing in the U18s and even the U23s.
“I know I need to find more space that allows me more time on the ball because players are better, smarter and quicker at getting up to press you and getting close to you.
“I think my all-round game has definitely improved just from being around the lads and getting the help of the manager.
“In pre-season I definitely learnt loads because I got a lot of game time, and I learnt a lot from the Wolves game, too.
“But just being around in training for a whole year, you see the standard and what those top international players are like every single day.
“It is amazing and it puts their mindset into my head, so I end up following what they do. It has made me a lot better as a footballer and a person, too.”
That’s all good and positive. Talking of the game against Wolves in the FA Cup, Jones admitted he was “more excited than nervous”, and was “really looking forward to the game and couldn’t wait for it to come around.
“It finally came and the standard was different, it was quicker.
“Physically it was harder too, but for me it was about getting out there and not being shy to get on the ball, not hiding.
“I wanted to show everybody that I am a talented kid with confidence and I am trying to make my mark in the first team.
“Just knowing that I am close to the first team and that, if a player gets injured, the manager actually has the belief in me to start and play the role that player was going to be fulfilling, is fantastic.”
There’s a lot of hard work involved between being where Jones is now and being a first team starter. But everything so far is on the right track, and it’s hard to be anything other than positive about him.