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Jones allays injury concerns with England U21s assist

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After concerns over a groin strain earlier in the week, there were question marks over Curtis Jones’ ability to feature at Watford. But they’ve now been put to bed.

The 20-year-old missed England under-21s 2-2 draw in Slovenia on Thursday due to the muscle complaint with manager Lee Carsley insisting he and his staff “definitely won’t be taking any risks.”

But Jones would ultimately do enough to prove his fitness to be named on the bench against Andorra on Monday.

The Young Lions had laboured through the opening half, unable to test the hosts and find the all-important breakthrough in their Euro 2023 qualifier.

But Jones would help turn the tide after ex-Red Rhian Brewster was shown a red card in the 56th minute for a second yellow card offence, forcing Carsley into a tactical shuffle.

Liverpool’s No. 17 would be introduced in place of James Garner for his first taste of action under the U21s boss following his appointment in the summer.

In the 67th minute, Jones picked up from where he left off with Liverpool by setting up the winner, with Arsenal’s Emile Smith Rowe adding the finishing touches.

It came from a deadly counterattack from an Andorra corner, with Jones and Smith Rowe the quickest to react to progress up the pitch, the former laying on a perfectly-timed pass to see the scoreboard read 1-0.

“It was pleasing that the one goal we did get was a counter from one of their times coming out to try and score. It was a great finish by Emile and excellent from Curtis [Jones] as well,” Carsley said post-match.

The outing continues Jones’ impressive run after eye-catching club displays against Norwich, Brentford, Porto and Man City that returned a goal and three assists.

And it will no doubt comes as a relief to Jurgen Klopp and co. with a handful of players to be absent for the trip to Watford on Saturday.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 25, 2021: Liverpool's Curtis Jones celebrates after scoring the third goal during the FA Premier League match between Brentford FC and Liverpool FC at the Brentford Community Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Alisson and Fabinho are not to be back in time from their exploits with Brazil while it’s still unclear if Thiago will have recovered in time from his calf injury.

Similarly, Trent Alexander-Arnold will need to prove his fitness and potentially Diogo Jota with Portugal contemplating whether to send the forward back to Merseyside due to a muscle injury.

But with Jones to be firmly in the mix after a positive 33-minute display for the Young Lions, he will be in consideration for a midfield berth on Saturday.

As things stand, Klopp could field a midfield trio of Jordan Henderson, Curtis Jones and Naby Keita, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain a further option while James Milner could once again deputise at right-back.



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