17-year-old defender the next Liverpool youth starlet to break into the first team?

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Liverpool have tied down the future of 17-year-old defender Lloyd Jones, the latest to come off the Anfield production line.

Brendan Rodgers seems to have a superb grasp of Liverpool’s youth team system at the moment, benefiting from the infrastructure and signings that were made before he even stepped into his current job.

So far he’s shown perfect timing over when to draft in teenagers from the very talented Development Squad, subjecting them to the high pressure and responsibility of representing the Liverpool first team.

More significantly, he’s not messed around when he’s liked what he’s seen and Lloyd becomes the latest teenager to sign a long term professional deal, which ties him down to the club and prevents a rival from snapping him up.

Jones featured on the subs bench as Liverpool won away at Fulham last weekend, which was the perfect chance for Rodgers to give the former Plymouth teenager a taste of the first team experience at the club.

So far this season he’s been a regular in the Under-21 side’s back four, which missed out on a place in the Premier League final of that competition thanks to a bad away defeat at Manchester United.

However, for the large part he’s been one of the Under-21’s more consistent players and Rodgers has proven once again, he will give any young player a taste of first team life and a chance at Anfield.

What the extended deal tells us is that he could follow the likes of Martin Kelly, Jon Flanagan and Andre Wisdom in making his senior debut next season.

He’s not the player who is going to fill the void created by Jamie Carragher’s retirement from football but he gives Rodgers extra squad options when it comes to the numerous competitions the club will be in next season.

However, he won’t see it like that and that’s where Rodgers and Liverpool will benefit from his youth big time.

He will see that as the very chance to cement himself in the long term vision Rodgers has for the first team, regardless of the calibre of the defensive signings the club will make in this summer’s transfer window.

Liverpool paid just £20,000 to sign him, which looks like a complete steal considering the impact he’s had throughout his time playing in the Liverpool youth teams.

Liverpool seem to have a better grasp over their youth policy than any other club in the country at the moment. Rodgers is regularly benefiting from key and talented young players who give him extra options, which form the spine of many Liverpool sides to come.

He was serious when he said he was copying the Borussia Dortmund model, with the only difference being he’s not under pressure to sell his best players.

Do you think Jones will feature much next season?

image: © neate photos

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