Steven Gerrard says he urged Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp to stick with Curtis Jones while he was a coach at the club.
Gerrard cut his teeth as head coach of Liverpool U18s between 2017 and 2018. During that time, he managed a young Jones, who was just then making the first steps in senior training.
And speaking to The Anfield Wrap about his experience of the then teenaged Jones, Stevie G recalled a conversation he had with Klopp about him at the time.
“I know he’s got that [mentality]. I remember having a conversation with Jurgen, we were talking about Curtis and he said ‘yeah, there’s a few little things we need to improve in a few areas’ and all that,” said the 42-year-old.
“I said ‘I get that, you’re seeing him more than me,’ because he was spending more time at Melwood at the time. But I said to Jurgen, ‘stay with this kid. Whatever you’re thinking keep him and stay with him, because he won’t let you down. Once you get him right and you fix a few little things that you need to fix, he won’t let you down, he’ll be there for you.’ And I think he’s showing Jurgen that now.”
Jones proves Gerrard right
A lot has been said about Steven Gerrard the football manager, a lot of it over-the-top and unfair in its harshness. But whatever you say about the Reds icon, he should know a midfielder when he sees one.
In Jones, Gerrard obviously absolutely saw one. Although it’s taken a little while to get there, Liverpool fans – and indeed Jurgen Klopp – are starting to see it now, too.
How good must that have made the young Curtis feel? Whether he was aware of this conversation is unlikely, but he’ll surely have known Gerrard was right behind him.
Not a lad that needs help with his confidence anyway, this will have only bolstered it even more.
Up until a couple of months ago, that confidence had looked to have somewhat left Jones. Frustrated by injuries and not especially influential when did get on the pitch, there were suggestions that the 22-year-old should be sold this summer.
As Stevie says, Curtis has now answered those doubters emphatically. Ten Premier League starts in a row, three goals and an assist. If he can stay injury free next season, he’s got a huge part to play. The Scouser now looks like a proper Liverpool player.
Jurgen owes Stevie a pint, we’d say.