Ian Wright has waxed lyrical about the talents of Liverpool academy graduate, Curtis Jones. The former Arsenal man believes Jones’ performances have gone under that radar in recent months.
Jones, 20, has enjoyed a breakout season for his boyhood club this term. The West Derby midfielder has clocked up 30 appearances in all competitions, scoring four goals while providing the same number of assists.
Despite Jurgen Klopp having the likes of Jordan Henderson, Fabinho, Thiago Alcantara, Naby Keita and Gini Wijnaldum at his disposal, Jones has emerged as one of his first-choice midfielders.
In fact, the only Liverpool midfielder to have featured more regularly than Jones is Wijnaldum, who is expected to leave the club at the end of the season.
Wright on Jones
And Wright thinks that Liverpool’s recent struggles have underplayed the influence of Jones, who has been an unused substitute in Klopp’s previous three matches.
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Speaking on the Kelly and Wrighty Show, which was broadcast on Optus Sport, he said: “They’re a very good team. Even someone like Curtis Jones has gone under the radar, because of the way they’ve performed, but he’s an unbelievable find.
“The way they have brought him in. He looks so comfortable in any scenario they put him in.
“Once it starts getting going and Liverpool can get on that winning run he’s only going to get better.”
Taking his game to the next level
Wright makes a number of telling points, notably how Jones has gone under the radar. This has largely been down to the influence of Fabinho.
The Brazilian was recently restored back in his natural role for the first time since October. Unsurprisingly, the midfield was the best it’s been in months.
Thiago Alcantara especially looks like a different player with Fabinho operating as Liverpool’s main layer of protection in front of the back-four.
And that got us thinking – this could be exactly how Jones is to kick-on and take his game to another level next season.
Wijnaldum, of course, is expected to leave at the end of the season. This immediately opens up another vacant position in Klopp’s midfield.
Now, Jordan Henderson is indeed the obvious choice. However, both Thiago and the Liverpool skipper will be in their thirties next season, meaning Klopp will look to manage them both more carefully.
This could allow Jones to take up more prominent role in both the Premier League and Champions League. Again, Fabinho will be key.
Greater onus on attack
Relinquishing Jones of his defensive duties will directly enable him to showcase his attacking talents more frequently.
Indeed, Jones has a solid overall game, though, his qualities are undoubtedly better suited further forward. We think this will get the best out of Jones.
Also, this should lead directly to Jones increasing his statistical output. He is Liverpool’s most exciting attacking player, after all, and he is only going to get better.
With Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain added to the equation, Liverpool suddenly have three alternate goalscoring solutions to the front-three.
Wright is spot-on to highlight Jones’ incredible development this term. Perhaps the most scary aspect of his progress is that there is still so much more to come.
Make no mistake, this lad is going to reach the very top.