Flanagan has Carragher and Gerrard mindset, says former Liverpool star
EXCLUSIVE: Former Liverpool defender Rob Jones praises Jon Flanagan's performances this season
Rob Jones has singled out Jon Flanagan for special praise after the Liverpool youngster’s breakthrough season.
The 21-year-old Reds youth graduate has expertly filled the void left by injured left-back Jose Enrique in Brendan Rodgers’s side since the end of 2013.
Flanagan scored his first Premier League goal in a memorable 5-0 rout at Tottenham Hotspur in December and conjured an assist in the 4-0 win against Spurs last month.
His attitude, he’s like a Gerrard or Carragher, he has that passion. His football, defending and positional play has been exceptional
And Jones, who was widely regarded as one of Liverpool’s best right-backs before injury cut his career short, believes Flanagan has improved all the areas of his game in recent months.
“Flanagan in the last four or five games has been exceptional,” Jones told The Sport Review.
“He has moved over to left-back and his positioning play and going forward has been outstanding.
“He took the left-back spot and it is more difficult being on his right foot a lot of the time, but he has adapted to that in training. He is very confident on the ball.”
Jones believes Flanagan has the same temperament as fellow Scousers Jamie Carragher and Steven Gerrard, praising his ability to play on the left side of defence despite being right-footed.
He is keeping his head down and getting on with the game
“His passing, sometimes it is good for the team when you have a right footer on the left-hand side, he has adapted,” Jones continued.
“I was at the game on Sunday, and his first time passing in was brilliant. He doesn’t hold it and slow the game down. He knows where the ball is going, it’s bang, bang, bang.
“His tempo is really good. His attitude, he’s like a Gerrard or Carragher, he has that passion. His football, defending and positional play has been exceptional. He has had a great end to the season.”
Flanagan has three England Under-21 caps but is yet to earn a call up to Roy Hodgson’s Three Lions squad with the World Cup on the horizon.
And Jones feels Flanagan has gone under the radar as he deputises for Enrique, with Everton left-back Leighton Baines and Southampton youngster Luke Shaw earning plenty of plaudits.
“He has moved over the left-back spot and everyone has seen him as a right-back,” Flanagan added.
“Everyone thinks he is doing job there which he probably is. Luke Shaw is a natural left-back and can whip the cross in.
“It is two different type of players. He is keeping his head down and getting on with the game.”