Seldom do you see a fresh-faced 15 year old boy step onto a football pitch along with a group of adults, readying himself for just another professional outing with nPower League 2 outfit Wycombe Wanderers. But when you do see a player with a similar story and case to Jordan Ibe’s, one must assume that such a youngster possesses quality in abundance to have earned himself a place in the starting XI of any professional club at such a tender age. He also managed to score a goal in a league fixture for the Chairboys in his first and last season with his former club, and in doing so he attracted scouts of big clubs who were informed of his ability.
With such an impressive feat carried out by the attacker at such a young age comes much hype and transfer talk. It was only a matter of time before the starlet was snapped up by one of the big guns, and when Liverpool came a-knocking, Wycombe had little other choice but to see the highly-sought after Englishman up for a reportedly modest fee of around £500,000 (with add-ons) and in due course there was much talk of an exciting career ahead for the pacey wide-forward. The red divide of Merseyside did themselves proud by fighting off competition of other elite clubs such as Tottenham, Manchester United and Arsenal among others in order to obtain Ibe’s signature.
After making a brief 45 minute cameo appearance in Liverpool’s tour of the U.S. last summer, the winger showed why Brendan Rodgers had such faith in him, giving the Toronto FC left-back a tough run out for half of the game. His playing style is similar to another Liverpool player who goes by the name of Raheem Sterling. With bucketloads of pace, a fine touch, nifty footwork and a determined attitude, Ibe ticks plenty of boxes required to be a successful winger at a club like Liverpool.
The youngster’s performances for Liverpool’s youth teams so far this season have suggested that he has the ability to live up to the hype, and the speed merchant has chipped in with his fair share of goals and assists for the U-18s and U-21 sides respectively. Goals against Swindon and Leeds this year have also helped draw more attention to the rising star, and theses finishes in particular showcase his prowess around the box, something which is at times lacking from his employer’s first team.
Not afraid to take on a defender or two, Ibe certainly isn’t short on confidence, and judging by those much-maligned ‘3 minute YouTube clips’ rightly so. If you’re not blessed with a big and bulky frame, some would imply that the Premier League is not for you, as it is regarded as the most physical top division in world football. But numerous players have rubbished this theory, adapting to the league with relative ease although their size might suggest otherwise, Juan Mata, Eden Hazard, Philippe Coutinho and Santi Cazorla to name a few. The Anfield academy’s most promising export since Raheem Sterling could be another diminutive player to beat this stereotype, as his pace and footwork will more than make up for his slight frame.
This short video shows glimpses of the class Ibe posesses. Well worth a watch, some classy goals in there.
Quite recently, Ibe was talking to the Liverpool Echo, and he revealed some particularly interesting information regarding his aspirations as a football, claiming that he has been avidly studying Portuguese world-beater Cristiano Ronaldo.
He told the Liverpool Echo: “Going forward, Alex Inglethorpe has helped me by showing me clips of Cristiano Ronaldo.
“20 of Ronaldo’s goals last season were one touch finishes at the back post. He’s been helping me to get within the frame of the goal and in the six-yard box.
“I haven’t scored a lot of goals this season, I have plenty of assists, but with what Alex is showing me I hope I can score a few more goals towards the end of the season.”
Only time will tell what’s in store for Ibe, and it will be very interesting to see where the winger is in 4 or 5 years time.