Following In The Footsteps Of Gerrard, Curtis Jones Can Become A Liverpool Legend

The 18-year-old announced his arrival in the Merseyside derby earlier this month
14:00, 26 Jan 2020

The ball flew, arching through the air and Anfield held its breath in anticipation.

As the rocket gained speed, Liverpool fans watched excitedly while Evertonians could only wince.

It crashed in off the bar, rolled down the side of the net and with that moment, Curtis Jones had announced his arrival.

Scoring in the Merseyside derby, he scored the best goal of the FA Cup Third Round to give the Reds yet more bragging rights over their hapless rivals from across the park.

Part of a team made up of potential and talent as Jurgen Klopp rested his main stars, Liverpool’s second string rode an Everton wave in the first-half, matched them then beat them courtesy of Jones’ magical strike.

To pull off such a winner would be special for any player, but for a Scouser, it was even more significant.

Now, travelling to League One Shrewsbury in the Fourth Round on Sunday, it is likely a similar side will again take to the field and Jones will be given another chance to shine.

Born in Toxteth, just like Reds legend Robbie Fowler, on the outskirts of Liverpool city centre and a mere 15 minutes drive from Anfield Stadium, Jones is living the dream and waiting to seize on more chances handed to him.

At the age of only 18, considering the stars playing the season of their lives in this table-topping Liverpool team, his four senior appearances so far this season prove his undoubted ability.

“In your career, opportunities will come along the way to get more first-team football, but I know I’m not missing out on anything because I see what Jurgen [Klopp] tells the players, he speaks to me one-to-one, tells me what I need to improve on,” he told The Independent.

“I know he’s got faith in me. Being a local lad, my head’s only ever been on staying here to represent the area and show what local boys are capable of.”

They know all too well in these parts just how talented the boys born around these parts can be.

Steven Gerrard won trophies single-handedly for Liverpool and was a huge part of Jones’ youth career. His manager back in the Under 18s, his mere presence inspired the youngster and pushed him on.

“I think for any Liverpool lad, especially being a local boy, it’s a massive thing,” he said in a 2018 interview with The Liverpool Echo.

“Whenever anyone says Liverpool, you know the first person they’re going to think of is Steven Gerrard.

“He’s a legend, he’s a character. He’s a great man, Steven. Every time you’re unsure of something you can go to him, he’ll always be there, he’s supportive.

“He’s got me working on timing my runs into the box and making sure that I’m getting in there.”

That tutelage has come in handy.

Still living at home with his Mum Sandra, who would take him to Melwood as a youngster, Jones, who is the youngest of four, is on the right path and continuously impressing.

It seems, too, that he has a sensible head. Sure of himself but not cocky.

“Everyone says I’m a confident lad and that I’ve got that bit of swagger about me, but regardless of who you are, there’s always that bit of fear inside your body,” he told The Independent. “Not because of the opposition, but the opportunity, because you know it’s your chance and you don't want to fail.

“I know I need to take things slowly and wait until my time’s right. Sadio [Mane], Mo [Salah], Bobby [Roberto Firmino], the lads in the dressing room are some of the best players in the world. If I was still sitting in the stands watching them I’d be like ‘Oh my God’.

Star-struck but fully belonging, it’s his time.

“It’s come to the time now where it’s the big opportunity I’ve been working for all of my life. When I get on the pitch, I need to shine, not be afraid of anything, and show the talent I am.”

This weekend will be his latest audition and he’ll be desperate to be the star of the show.

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