Headstrong Curtis Jones confident of place despite “local boy” pressure

Curtis Jones believes his local roots invite additional external pressure, but he insists he is “up for the challenge” of competing for midfield minutes this season.

The midfielder enjoyed a rich vein of form towards the end of 2022/23 which saw him become an ever-present name on the team sheet from April onwards, notching three goals and an assist along the way.

He also played a key role in helping England lift the U21 Euros trophy over the summer, operating in a deeper role for his national side.

Born and raised in Toxteth, Jones has talked about embracing the expectations that come with being a local talent and a product of the club’s academy.

The 22-year-old also implied that his Scouse status leads some to believe that a replacement is needed, but that is a challenge he refuses to “shy away” from.

“I feel it as well. I won’t say [we get] the blame but I do feel sometimes because I am a local boy there can be a feeling of ‘He’s not good enough, we need to bring someone else in’,” Jones told the Telegraph.

SINGAPORE - Sunday, July 30, 2023: Liverpool's Curtis Jones during the pre-match warm-up before a pre-season friendly match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at the Singapore National Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“It’s the situation I’m in and I can’t change it. I don’t shy away from it. I am up for the challenge. If anyone is to doubt me, you will only see more of me.

“It’s not that I am out there to prove them wrong. The biggest thing I do is to prove myself right.”

Jones now faces increased competition for a regular spot in the team following the arrival of four new centre-midfielders over the summer.

Ryan Gravenberch became the latest recruit on deadline day in a £38.5 million move from Bayern Munich, but Jones recognises the importance of proving “all the time” that he is worthy of his place.

“Things can always change, but I feel there is more of a gap [in the team]. I back myself,” he continued.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, May 20, 2023: Liverpool's Curtis Jones during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Aston Villa FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“I could have anybody competing with me – five lads, ten lads – and I have the same thing in my head.

“I train with them all the time. I see them play. I know what they have to give but I know how much I have to give and I still have time. I have to be the best in the position I am in.

“I have to prove all the time I am good enough to keep my shirt.”