Steve McClaren on Liverpool prospect Ibe’s biggest improvement at Derby

Steve McClaren has praised Jordon Ibe’s development into a team player at Derby.

Ibe has made 13 appearances for the Rams since joining on a season-long loan from Premier League strugglers Liverpool.

Having struggled in his early weeks at the iPro Stadium, the youngster has truly found his form alongside his teammates, as Steve McClaren’s side sit three points clear at the top of the Championship table on the back of three straight victories.

Following a 5-0 win against promotion rivals Wolves - who, prior to the game, had one of the best defences in the division - the Rams overcame a tough-fought battle with Watford at Vicarage Road, winning 2-1 courtesy of two moments of individual brilliance. Craig Bryson scored the winning goal in the second half with an incredible long-range strike, but it was 18-year-old Ibe who netted the opener, as he charged down the left-wing before curling a perfectly-hit strike past Jonathan Bond in the Hornets goal.

It has been moments such as this that have made his reputation as one of England’s most promising young players, but Rams head coach Steve McClaren believes that he has drastically improved in another key area since moving to the midlands.

Speaking to the Derby Telegraph, former England coach McClaren said: “When he first came in, we would give Jordon a ball on his own and give the rest of the team another ball!

“Now he is learning to be a team player and learning that he needs an end product to his game.

“He is developing his game and that is why he is here – for us to develop him for Liverpool but in the meantime for him to help us to win games.”

While the youngster's attacking output has remained much the same in the last few weeks, McClaren was quick to praise his defensive work rate, and his more all-rounded team play.

“He is showing his defensive responsibilites, work rate and concentration,” McClaren added.

“He is not dribbling all the time and beating players but playing off team mates.

“I think he is becoming a team player, and that is vital.”

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