Liverpool have been decimated with injuries this season, with things getting so bad that centre-midfielders were forced to play at centre-back to help cover for large parts of the campaign. As a result, 20-year-old Curtis Jones has been given the opportunity to flourish, making 29 appearances in all competitions this season, with 20 of them being starts.
He’s made the most of those opportunities as well, putting in an average WhoScored rating of 6.64, higher than established players like James Milner and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
And speaking on the latest edition of The Red Agenda podcast, Pearce thinks that he has done enough during his run in the team this season to warrant being a part of the first-team set up next season:
“At the moment we’ve probably seen more Curtis Jones this season than we would have done I think, because of the injury situations, but you’ve still got to grasp those opportunities. And he’s done unbelievably well at doing that. I see him being a permanent fixture in that Liverpool midfield next season.”
Have you been impressed with Curtis Jones so far this season?
TIF Thoughts on James Pearce’s comments about Curtis Jones…
Pearce is right with his assessment that Jones has taken his opportunities, with the youngster coming in for high praise from ex-professionals (Match Of The Day 2, via Liverpool Echo) as well as journalists. Although it’s not simply going to be a case of ‘as you were’ next season.
If we are to assume that Virgil Van Dijk and Joe Gomez return at centre-back pushing Jordan Henderson and Fabinho back into central midfield, then there’s only one space left in that midfield three to fight for. And with more experienced players like Thiago and Naby Keita fighting for that spot as well, it isn’t a foregone conclusion that he’ll just slot in once again.
He’s taken some nice strides this season, but there’s still a long way to go before his place is 100% secure in this side.