Liverpool’s coaches have in recent weeks begun to talk up the chances for the club’s most promising youth players to take on key first team roles next season, and we got something of a confirmation of that with news today of a new number for Curtis Jones.
The promising local 20-year-old midfielder has made ten first team appearances so far this season, scoring three goals and adding an assist while kitted out with the number 48. Now, starting in the 2020-21 campaign in September, Jones will take on the number 17.
It’s an announcement that serves as confirmation that, as has been widely rumoured, Jones has been penciled in to replace the departing Adam Lallana in the club’s midfield depth chart. It also means Jones won’t be going the way of Trent Alexander-Arnold.
In Alexander-Arnold’s case, his elevation to first team regular came sooner than expected, in the middle of a season he was expected to see limited action. and all signs now point to the right back continuing on with the unorthodox 66 shirt for the foreseeable future.
Not that there’s a lot of storied history in the 17 shirt Jones is taking on—in the Premier League, it’s been worn by Alvaro Arbeloa, Craig Bellamy, Josemi Rey, Mamadou Sakho, Maxi Rodriguez, Paul Ince, Ragnar Klavan, Steve McManaman, and Steven Gerrard.
In the last two cases, the 17 was a stepping stone to a single-digit number once they became fully established, and given Jones’ quick move from 48 to 17, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see him change again in a season or two should a growing role justify it.