Curtis Jones has enjoyed a bigger role in the team stretching back towards the end of last season.
The 22-year-old himself recently admitted that he has felt more responsibly on his shoulders, saying:
“Even though I’m young I do feel like I’m one of the experienced ones and know how the manager and staff like [us] to go and play.”
However, Jones’ future at Anfield was not always so secure – and he faced an uphill battle to cement himself in Jurgen Klopp’s starting XI.
Speaking on the We Are Liverpool Podcast, Jones heaped praise on former under-18s coach Steven Gerrard for delivering the ‘harsh truths’ and enabling him to reach the level he is at today.
“He helped me out loads,” Jones told hosts Peter McDowall and Jan Molby.
“I say it now, still, I feel like Steven [Gerrard] was the one who came in and like made me really, really think, ‘look, if I lock all the way in, now I can go to the top’.”
“I always knew I had the ability but as a young kid in the academy the staff are always on top of you and like, ‘look you can do this, you can do that. You’re always going to play’.”
“It was Steven who was the one who really came in.”
“I’ll never forget the time, we’d been away on pre-season – I don’t know what country it was – we came back and he got the whole team in on a one-to-one.”
“He’d been speaking about the things you did well and what you needed to improve.”
“I remember when he came in – I don’t want to say what he said – it was good but it was not nice.”
“It wasn’t nice. It was like the harsh truths.”
“I’ll say a little bit: ‘I gave you the 10 shirt on your back because I want you to be my main lad in my team and I want to build the team around you, but you didn’t show enough”.”
Liverpool’s No.17 then recalled a moment that encapsulated the spirit of Steven Gerrard perfectly:
“There was a game that he said, this was what stuck in my head a lot – where I wanted to show him that anything you need from me I’ll do it – we’d been beaten by Fulham and he said I’d been tackled and the lad had stood over and said something while I’d been on the floor.”
“He turned around to me and said, ‘what did you do about it?!’ I said, ‘I can’t remember’, and he said, ‘well, I’ll tell you, you did nothing!'”
“I sat there and thought, ‘you’re right’.”
“This is my club, there are people like you who have played your whole life here and even came back to the academy and now you’re a coach, you want to give your all to the club.”
“There are people like me, I’m a Scouser myself, I don’t understand the situation I’m in. I need to grow up here and need to be a man.”
“Just after that, we built a connection to where he saw ‘okay, he’s willing to go out here and work’.”
“We built a connection. It wasn’t always good – to where he was telling me off. I took it on board and done it.”
“That’s why I say he was a massive, massive part of it because he wasn’t afraid to tell me when I was wrong.”
“At the same time, he’d tell me when I was doing well.”
“I’m on 100 games but I feel it’s just the beginning and I want to just carry on and hold the form and keep it going.” 🗣️
The latest episode of the ‘We are Liverpool’ podcast, featuring Curtis Jones, is available from 7am GMT tomorrow 🎙️
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) November 20, 2023