Around this time last year, there was not a huge expectation that academy midfielder Curtis Jones would make the step up to the first team. While his first team involvement could still be considered “fringe,” his 10 appearances and 3 goals in all competitions was more than anyone could have reasonably expected from him.
Throw in a winning penalty against Arsenal in the League Cup and a perfectly struck match winner against Everton, and suddenly fans—particularly local ones—were eager to see more of the other young Scouser in the team.
Jones may have even surprised himself with his development this year, but is quick to give thanks to the man at the top: Jurgen Klopp.
“He is perfect for any type of player – defender, midfielder, attacker, ‘keeper, anything – because he is somebody that is, he’s like a father figure to anybody,” Jones said in an interview with the club’s official website.
“He is somebody that when you are doing well he will be the first to tell you, but then when you’re not he’s also the first to let you know.
“He’s always put me on at the right times when he knows it’s perfect for me to come and play. He’s never not put me in the deep end when I might not play as well as I can, he just knows when the games are always right, so he’s perfect.
“On the side of that, he’s a great man and his character is top! I love working with him and I hope to spend many, many more years with him.”
It’s still a long way to go for Jones to become a regular first team squad player, and further still to become a nailed-on starter.
However, Klopp has shown a commitment to improving the squad from top to bottom, and developing players so long as they show the desire on the training pitch. If Jones has the talent to become a first team regular, Klopp is very likely to unlock that potential.
Hopefully we see even more in the coming year from our new #17.