Lloyd Jones
Lloyd Jones pictured in Singapore on a trip with the Liverpool academy.  [Twitter]

When Jamie Carragher announced his decision to hang up his boots after a long and successful career it became clear that Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers would have a huge task on his hands find a suitable successor.

Dozens of names were mentioned but there was a feeling that you would struggle to find a player with the same passion and commitment for the club. How do you go about finding a player who not only has qualities on the pitch, but would instantly become a favourite amongst the fans?

It is a question that Rodgers will be pondering with his coaching staff, and while he has already managed to complete a deal for Kolo Toure, there is a still a feeling that there is a missing piece of the puzzle.

After the success of Raheem Sterling, Suso and Andre Wisdom, perhaps the best solution would be to look at the club's academy where he will find 17 year old defender Lloyd Jones. The Wales younth international was named on the bench for a Premier League game against Fulham at the tail end of last season and is one of the brightest prospects in the Liverpool academy.

Jones, a 6ft 3" central defender, was signed from Plymouth Argyle back in the summer of 2011 and quickly rose through the ranks to earn a regular spot in the Under-18 s and then in Liverpool's NextGen team.

With Wisdom now regularly playing in the first team, Jones was promoted to the Under-21 side and quickly demonstrated why he has been likened to Liverpool legend Alan Hansen. His assured performances and ability to bring the ball out of defence stood out and it was not long before Rodgers was checking on his progress.

Making the bench against Fulham completed his dramatic rise to the first team squad and he is now hoping that he can make an impression during pre-season and push for more first team action next season.

"This season has gone really well for me and it has been a great learning curve for me," Jones told Sky Sports. "It was a massive experience for me to be involved in the first-team and I really, really enjoyed it and I learnt a lot.

"It has definitely made me hungry to play for the first-team and hopefully I can do that in the future. I know I am a long way off from becoming the finished article.

"I am at the first stage of my career and I am determined to work hard to become the best I can. I am going to work hard this summer. I had some time off, but now I just want to get back into it.

"Hopefully I can impress in training when we go back and if I get the chance in a match then hopefully I can impress."

Seven players from the academy featured in the Liverpool first team last season and it has become increasingly clear that Rodgers is willing to give these youngsters an opportunity to demonstrate their ability.

Jones admits he was pleased to see so many of his fellow Melwood teammates play under Rodgers: "It is encouraging for every young player that the manager will give young players a chance," added Jones.

"It spurs you on when you see your mates go into the first team. You want it to be you and it spurs you on to get to first team a lot quicker."

Replacing Carragher is an unenviable task for Rodgers but perhaps rather than spending tens of millions on a defender it would be worth promoting from within. Wisdom has already shown he can compete in the Premier League so perhaps Jones will also be granted the chance next season.