‘He’ll make it to the top’. That’s what Steven Gerrard apparently told Stephen Warnock about Curtis Jones. It did come with a caveat, however.
Jones put his name up in lights on Sunday, scoring a winner in the Merseyside derby that was practically fantasy. The 18-year-old curled one into the top corner with ten minutes to go, beating Everton and sending Liverpool into the next round of the FA Cup.
It doesn’t get much better and Jones certainly looks like one for the future.
According to ex-Liverpool defender Warnock, Gerrard saw this coming – but only if Jones had the right attitude. Gerrard coached Jones for Liverpool’s under-18s and Warnock had watched them play at St George’s Park.
“I remember coming off the pitch and saying to [Gerrard], ‘who’s the number 10?’ Because he just glides past players, making it look so effortless, so easy,” Warnock told Sky Sports News.
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“Steven turned around and said Jones has everything to become a top player. If his attitude is right, he’ll make it to the top.
“That’s coming from someone like Steven. Jones is maturing and is under the right manager who is giving him trust to go out and express himself, to play the way he wants.”
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It looks increasingly clear that Jones has that attitude. There are the obvious examples like his confidence on the pitch – Jones plays with an arrogance that suggests he’s comfortable against anyone.
Then there’s the fact that he admitted to feeling frustrated at being on the bench (per the Mail). Firstly, the confidence is good but more importantly, it’s promising that Jones can put those frustrations to one side and wait his chance. A chance he has taken.
Contrast that to Bobby Duncan, who forced through a move to Fiorentina over a desire for first-team football.
Jones opted to stay, however, and it’s that attitude and confidence – as Gerrard predicted – that will see his talent rise to the top.