Rob Jones, who has worked extensively with Neco Williams in his current role at Liverpool, has backed the young right-back to “go all the way” and cement his place.
Prior to this season, Williams had barely surfaced on the radar of the Reds’ first team, instead serving as a staple of the academy sides as he honed his game.
It is a strong position for Liverpool, with one of the world’s best right-backs as first choice and still only 21, and a hungry 19-year-old pushing him for a starting spot in years to come.
That is how Jones sees Williams’ future, with the former Reds right-back telling This Is Anfield that his former protege can “go all the way.”
Jones has worked at the academy since 2013, in an informal coaching role that has seen him work one-to-one with Williams on a regular basis, and sees him as a “good old-fashioned right-back” whose playing style is similar to his own.
“I don’t usually like to say this, but I think he can definitely go all the way,” Jones told This Is Anfield.
“He is different to Trent—I see him as more of a right-back of my era. He’s a good defender.
“Trent was put into right-back about 18 months before he got into the first team. He was always a midfielder, you can see that.
“Neco starts as a defender, but has improved so much going forward. Trent has had to work on his defending, which has come on 100 percent.
“I see Neco as a good old-fashioned right-back that concentrates on his defending first and makes sure everything is in order, and when he can go forward, he can go forward.
“He’s got some great feet on him and can put a ball in. He has everything.
“On top of that, he’s a great lad with a great attitude.
“You never know, in a couple of years he might slot into right-back and Trent could be pushed into midfield.”
Those within the club have continually resisted suggestions Alexander-Arnold’s future is in midfield, despite his success in Pepijn Lijnders‘ under-16s as a No. 6 and his phenomenal ability on the ball.
But if Liverpool wrap up the Premier League title early on its restart, Jones is confident Williams will step in to take his place in some games, with Klopp a firm admirer.
In doing so, the teenager would be making his first league outing, and there are no concerns over whether he can cut it at elite level.
“I know they love him at Melwood, they’re really happy and impressed with him, and Jurgen [Klopp] likes him. You can’t not like him,” Jones continued.
“I definitely think he will get a couple of games before the end of the season, and you wouldn’t be scared.
“Every time he has played for the first team I’ve had no worries about Neco at all.
“I was nervous for a couple of the other players, thinking ‘are they good enough for the first team?’, but with Neco I had no worries at all.
“I know what he can do and he has confidence in his own ability.”
It would be another success story for Liverpool if Williams does reach the top, and a success story for Jones in particular as he has undoubtedly been key to his rise from Kirkby.