Curtis Jones has been set a target to reach the England squad for the World Cup by England Under-21 manager Lee Carsley.
The former Everton player, who scored against the Reds in a Merseyside Derby win in 2004, believes Jones has all the capabilities of being a top player but lacks the necessary confidence at the moment.
“It's important to me that Curtis doesn't play within himself," the Young Lions boss said. “He's got to be the best player every day, every game. I think he can score more, I think he can assist more. When he gets in front of goal, he's got that quality.
“He needs to show it on a regular basis, consistently, for us. You'd like to have this conversation at the end of the camp where you're swooning about him, saying ‘what a player’. I still think he's building his reputation with the Under 21s in that respect.
“He's got energy, he's fast, he's got real power, he's got a real natural balance on the ball, he can take it either side. He's got the ability to go either way, off either side, which is a real skill to have and an attribute of a top player.”
Jones broke through into the Liverpool first-team at the back end of their 2020 title-winning campaign, since featuring 74 times for Jurgen Klopp’s men.
Carsley went on to say that the midfielder, who has three goals in ten England Under-21 caps, should be fighting his way into England’s Qatar squad for the winter, but needs to push himself to new levels.
“It's down to them. Gareth [Southgate] has shown in the past if you are playing well for your club, you're going to get a chance.
“You want lads to be inspired to go up [to the first team]. It's an open door, it's a cowboy door. As soon as you're ready, you go through it.
“I expect more from him [Jones]. The players that are almost your middle of the road ones - when they do well, you're like ‘that was brilliant, well done’. But the really talented ones, when they do well you actually want them to do better, you push them more than the players that are striving to get there. I'm not saying Curtis is there yet but he has such ability, as have three or four of them, that he can really kick on.”
Jones will likely feature more for Liverpool next season after sustaining an eye injury this term, and will be desperate to impress as another title challenge dawns.
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