Curtis Jones, England U21 international (Image: PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo)

Curtis Jones denied England chance due to injury – was tracked “very closely”

Curtis Jones was in a rich vein of form before injury struck, keeping him sidelined for more than a month and denying him a shot at a place in Gareth Southgate’s England squad.

The 23-year-old is only a handful of games away from putting together the most appearances in a single season for the first-team, a record which currently stands at 34 from 2020/21.

Jones has played 28 games so far and has been sidelined since the away win at Brentford with an ankle injury, though he is expected to mark his return against Brighton on March 31.

His absence, which has extended to eight games, put him out of contention for his first senior England call up.

Southgate revealed he had been “tracking” Jones “very closely” before his third injury setback of the season, saying: “He was definitely somebody we were tracking very closely ahead of his injury.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, December 20, 2023: Liverpool's Curtis Jones celebrates after scoring the second goal, the club's 500th in the competition. during the Football League Cup Quarter-Final match between Liverpool FC and West Ham United FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“We were without doubt very excited by his performances.”

Jones graduated from the under-21s set up last summer and ought to be viewed as a realistic contender for the Three Lions’ Euro squad at the end of the season.

Though the March international break is one of the final chances Southgate will get to assess his options, Jones’ chance could come as part of England’s initial extended squad in the summer.

Jude Bellingham, Conor Gallagher, Jordan Henderson, James Maddison and Declan Rice were selected in midfield for the March break, a department that is also without Trent Alexander-Arnold due to injury.

Jones has more than shown he’s worthy of a position, but convincing Southgate to move away from his comfort zone is another challenge entirely.