Who has more potential, Reds?
Brendan Rodgers has lauded teenage sensation Jordon Ibe, who’s returned to full training following his injury.
The Liverpool boss has also explained how Ibe needed to be developed differently to Raheem Sterling, who unlike his younger teammate, became a first-team regular from the age of 17 onwards.
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“He [Ibe] excites people,” Rodgers began, quoted in the Mirror.
“For a kid of that age – he’s just turned 19 in December, remember – it was about helping him to take the steps into the first team.
“He’s a classic example of where you’ve got to map out a young player and his development, in order to put him in. Now, he looks very much a first-team player.
“He’s had a couple of loan spells, he’s had first team football, he’s come back and then obviously he picked up the injury. But he’s back now, and I see a significant difference in him, in both his confidence and the maturity in his game.
“He is going to be an outstanding player. He IS an outstanding player, but we’ve just got to manage his potential in the coming years.”
“He’s different to Raheem.
“They’re both very exciting, but they’re different types of players,” Rodgers continued…
“And of course their pathways are different.
“I put Raheem in at 17, and he’s stayed in the team and gone on to do very well. With Jordon it was slightly different. It was about looking really closely at him to see where his development was going to be best suited.
“It took him out of the club for a couple of loan periods (at Derby and Birmingham), but we’ve got the benefit of that now, and he’s got the benefits of playing under pressure. Now he’s come back, and since he’s been back, he’s been great.”
Ibe flourished in the Championship under Steve McClaren’s tutelage during the first half of this season, and his form earned him a loan recall – and he took the opportunity with both hands.
Man of the Match versus Everton and Besiktas, Ibe was the talk of Liverpool, until an untimely injury stunted his progress. He’s back now though, and potentially available for the home tie against Newcastle on Monday evening.
The comparisons to Sterling are obvious, because of the players’ positions as wide attackers, and the fact that they actually share a birthday.
However, while Sterling’s close control and touch is exceptional, Ibe prides himself on his ferocious power, something Sterling doesn’t yet possess.
What’s certain is that if both maximise their potential, we’ll have two of England’s best players in our side for the next decade – providing they stay at Anfield…