Few could have expected, a season ago, that Jordon Ibe would no longer be a Liverpool player heading into the 2016-17 campaign.
The winger impressed under Brendan Rodgers but failed to make the desired impact under Jurgen Klopp—due in no small part to injury problems—and was offloaded to Bournemouth in a permanent deal earlier this month.
The transfer ostensibly represents a step back for the youngster, but it could be a move that yet shapes his international future—to Nigeria’s advantage.
The move to the Vitality Stadium is the right one for Jordon Ibe who, at 20, still has a lot to offer, is skilful and bristles with pace.
Rogers described him as “a really talented player with a bright footballing brain” and last season’s struggles have done little to change that.
Player Stats — Jordon Ibe
Ibe stats | 2014-15
His performances stand out because of his good temperament, intelligence, creativity and directedness. In 27 league games last season, for example, the winger recorded a successful take-on rate of 2.22 per game (63 percent) and a passing accuracy of 85 percent.
Player Stats — Jordon Ibe
Ibe stats | 2015-16
Just when Ibe began to get attention for his wonderful performances, the question of which national team he would represent naturally came to the fore although the forward moved to dismiss the suggestion of a future with Nigeria by committing to England.
This decision came after then Nigeria boss Sunday Oliseh had pleaded with him to wear the green jersey.
However, with his career undergoing something of a recalibration with a move to a club of lesser prestige, it’s time the wideman reconsidered his international future. At first glace, it would appear very difficult for Ibe to break into the England squad where the competition for wide places is significant.
In light of his move to Bournemouth, Nigeria could well be the best choice for Ibe, particularly considering that he would surely become a key man in the Super Eagles revolution—set to continue apace under the guidance of new boss Paul Le Guen.
The Frenchman needs the best talents at his disposal in order to qualify for the 2018 Fifa World Cup in Russia from the group of death containing Algeria, Cameroon and Zambia, and would do well to approach Ibe about reconsidering his situation.
The attacker would do well to take heed to Gabriel Agbonlahor’s situation after the Birmingham-born forward snubbed Nigeria but, to date, has only managed three England appearances should not be like Birmingham-born Gabriel Agbonlahor who till date has only three caps for England.
Had the Aston Villa forward chosen to play for Nigeria, he would likely have featured at the World Cup and could well have been part of Stephen Keshi’s Cup of Nations-winning side of 2013.
Don’t expect Abgonlahor to add to his meagre tally of caps anytime soon.