Roy Hodgson has admitted that he is a big fan of Jordon Ibe, but has refused to call him up to the England squad just to prevent him playing for Nigeria in the future, according to the Daily Mail.
The exciting winger has represented the Three Lions at various youth levels but qualifies to play for the African nation because of his father, as the report suggests. The Mail reports that Nigeria coach Sunday Oliseh has tried to persuade our winger to switch his allegiances.
And while Hodgson admitted that Ibe was a player who was catching his eye, he is not willing to call him up just to end the debate over his international future.
“My attitude for this is quite clear – I want players who want to play for England. I am not going to start making players English by giving them a few minutes in games,” he said.
“I want Jordon to fight for his place in the team like everybody else. He is certainly a player we like very much and certainly a player we have eyes on.
“It’s far from impossible that he gets called up in one of the next games. But if we do call him up it won’t be because we are worried about other nations,” he added.
While we haven’t been given the opportunity to see the 19-year-old at his best this season, there is little question that he has the ability to change a game with a moment of absolute brilliance – unlike many of the other players that have regularly been called up to the side during Hodgson’s tenure – and thus, should certainly be considered for England’s upcoming games with Lithuania and Estonia.
Regardless of which nation he ends up pledging his allegiances to, the boost he will get from being an integral part of an international side should benefit his performances at Anfield.
Nevertheless, judging by what we have been treated to so far, Hodgson should think long and hard about selecting Ibe at the next opportunity, and bring an end to the debate.