After signing a new five-year contract with Liverpool, his boyhood club, Curtis Jones believes it is time to finally show “the real him” at senior level.
Jones put pen to paper on a new deal this month, with the announcement coming on Thursday, tying him to Anfield until at least 2027.
It comes in his fourth season in the first team, during which time he has amassed 81 appearances so far, scoring eight goals and assisting another nine, and become the club’s youngest-ever captain in 2020.
But the 21-year-old, who is still adjusting to life as a senior player, feels he needs to “really put a mark out there” after penning new terms.
“Since I came around the team there’s always been hype around me, I’ve always been the young kid who’s coming in,” Jones told LFCTV.
“I’m a Scouser and I’ve scored important goals and stuff, but at the same time, I don’t think I’ve really shown the real me.
“I’ve changed my game, I’m adapting, I’m maturing and stuff. I feel that it’s coming together as one now.
“So I just feel now’s the time to go and show the real me, to start to score more goals and assist more goals and helping the team even more.”
Jones explained that the decision to extend his stay at Liverpool was made “in the blink of an eye,” and that he “didn’t even have a second thought.”
“There’s no other place that I’d rather be and that I see myself,” he continued.
“I’m happy to be here and I’m happy to give my all again.”
But there do remain concerns among fans over his impact on games, and whether he has developed as hoped at this stage in his young career.
From Jones’ point of view, he is “still on the journey” as he embraces “a disciplined side” to his game, after swapping an attacking role for a place in midfield.
“At the academy, I was an attacking kid and the first thought was always to have the ball and just run, try and score, assist or just shoot,” he reflected.
“You kind of have to change your game.
“I’ve played in a deeper role and it’s given me more of a disciplined side, that I need to understand that defending is a big part of the game.
“At times it’s better to be simpler on the ball, and in the final third that’s where you can do your bit as I say, in terms of scoring goals, assisting, crossing, creating chances.
“I’m learning it all now and I’m still on the journey.”