Liverpool teenager Curtis Jones admits he has been “begging” Jurgen Klopp to play in recent weeks after rewarding his manager’s faith with a spectacular FA Cup winner against Merseyside rivals Everton.
The 18-year-old curled home a wonderful long-range effort into the top corner with 19 minutes remaining at Anfield on Sunday to edge a much-changed Reds side through to the fourth round.
It was the academy graduate’s first senior goal in just his fifth appearance for the Merseyside club.
Speaking after the game Jones admitted it has been frustrating to watch from the sidelines in recent months but was delighted to take his chance.
"I just go out there and try and play my game,” he told BBC One. "It’s been frustrating at times being on the bench and then getting a taste on the pitch and then being back on the bench.
"I've been basically begging to come on but hopefully I’ve topped it off with a good goal.
"I can't sum up my emotions. For me it’s huge just being around this team every day and learning from this group of players. There are world-class players all over this team but I think I went out and showed what I could do on the pitch.”
Jones was one of nine changes made by Klopp from the side that beat Sheffield United in the Premier League on Thursday as he gave the majority of his title-chasing senior squad a rest.
Teenagers Neco Williams and Harvey Elliott also started and were joined by the fellow academy players Nathaniel Phillips and Pedro Chirivella.
Adam Lallana, Divock Origi, Adrian, Joe Gomez and James Milner were the senior players to feature, though Milner was forced off with a suspected hamstring injury early on.
Lallana acknowledged that it must be frustrating for the young players to watch from the sidelines but was delighted that they grasped their opportunity against the Toffees.
"It's frustrating at times for them [the youngsters] because they want to play,” said the 31-year-old. “But it's times like these that they are given the opportunity to show what they are capable of.
"I am delighted he [Jones] took his opportunity, as did everybody else."