Curtis Jones has long realised the importance of confidence in his game, a key ingredient for his success but not the entire story.
“Self-belief is probably not one of his weaknesses,” was how former under-23s manager Neil Critchley once described Jones.
It’s been evident since his days at the academy right through to the first team, with Jurgen Klopp and Pep Lijnders having both publicly acknowledged the youngsters self-assuredness.
It is a mental approach that has enabled the 20-year-old to become a reliable member of Klopp’s team, playing 43 senior games to date and with a Premier League winners’ medal to boot.
While down to earth off the pitch, Jones knew to breakthrough and succeed he had to bring confidence to the table from an early age.
“Everybody knows I’m always a humble lad off the pitch and I’ll be a great lad with anyone I see,” Jones said on VERSUS’ How To Be a Baller podcast.
“I’ve always got time for fans and giving back to where I grew up, everybody knows that and I’ve never changed.
“But on the pitch, I’ll always be the most confident lad in the world.
“I definitely think the game now and the team I play in, it’s only right that a young lad that’s trying to break through has got to be as confident as I am.
“I’ve always had the confidence to know I can actually be a world-class player, that’s just from me and who I am.
“I got to a point when I was with the under-14s when I took a step up to the 16s and then I was doing well there.
“Each year I was starting to take steps, then I was 16 and I was with the U18s and then I was playing with the U23s and then I was 17 and I was with the first team and training there all the time.
“I feel I adapt quick to [new] surroundings and the feedback I was getting from coaches was keeping me on my feet but that I had a really good chance.
“From my confidence and the stuff I’ve been told, it went together and put the thought in my head that I know if I stay a humble and respected kid but then confident on the pitch and work hard then I’ve got a really good chance at getting to the top.
“That’s what I’m doing at the moment.”
And his surprise starting debut at Wolves back in 2019 was a valuable learning curve in adding layers to his game on top of his existing and growing confidence.
“I’ve always been confident but that [debut] was something where it made me realise that the game you’re coming into is more than just being confident,” he added.
“It’s much more than that, there’s a lot more that you have to do as a person and as a player to get yourself to the level where you can compete.”
Showing maturity beyond his years, Jones has assimilated into Klopp’s team with relative ease where his grounded nature to improve and work hard is coupled beautifully with the confidence he has in himself.