Danny Mills urged Curtis Jones not to “damage” his development as a player and seek a loan move away from Liverpool this summer.
The former Leeds United full-back, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, suggested the 19-year-old is mere potential until he has started 50 first-team league games.
Jones has made eight appearances under Jurgen Klopp this season, scoring twice – including a memorable strike against Merseyside rivals Everton in the FA Cup third round.
However, the teenager has only 19 minutes of Premier League under his belt and with Harry Wilson returning from a loan spell at Bournemouth, there is no guarantee this will be increased next season.
Mills claimed a loan move would give the attacking midfielder a better chance of establishing himself in the Reds first team in years to come.
“If you get the opportunity to go out and play – go out and play,” he told Football Insider.
“It is simple.
“You have to look at players on an individual basis. Is he really going to play at Liverpool? Probably not. It is not that he has given up, it is being realistic. Do not damage yourself.
“Harry Wilson has been out and played a full season. Mason Mount – full season. They now have the robustness to deal with the challenges of a full season. Managers will take heart from that.
“You can call it cliche but you have not made it until you have started 50 league games. That is when you know you are a professional footballer. Up to that point, you are just potential.”
Wilson has scored six goals and provided two assists in 27 appearances for the Cherries.
Whereas Mason Mount, who spent last season on loan with Wilson at Derby County, has become a regular at Chelsea following his spell in the Championship.
In other Liverpool news, Kevin Phillips has told Football Insider what it will take to land winger’s signature this summer.