Michael Beale has praised Jordon Ibe’s impact in the Echo despite Liverpool Under-21s losing to Manchester United, touching on the improvement he has made while on-loan to Championship side Derby County.
Ibe, who returned to Liverpool from Derby 12 days ago, made his first appearance for the Reds in a five minute cameo against Aston Villa on the 17th January. However, since then, he has been left in the stands due to cup-ties, so was used in the Under-21 grudge match with Manchester United on Monday night.
After the match, despite not scoring or creating a goal, the Liverpool Under-21 manager lauded the talent as the best on the pitch and touched on the progress he has made while out on-loan at the East Midlands club.
‘’Ibe showed that there’s bags of ability there,’’ Beale told the Liverpool Echo. ‘’I’m not sure there’s a player on the pitch with more ability than him.
‘’So, it’s just about ‘can we get him in the right areas’, he’s obviously shown he’s grown in the time he’s been away.’’
Although the 19-year-old could be used in the Europa League and cameos for Liverpool from now until the end of the season, the comment on how much improvement he has made while playing regular football should ring alarm bells to what is best for his development.
For example, if the England Under-20 winger had stayed at Derby, already he would have earned big match experience as their latest Championship match was the East Midlands derby with Nottingham Forest and arguably would be preparing for a game on Wednesday night that could see the Rams top the English second division.
Instead, he has played five minutes of Premier League football against a struggling side and been used as the outlet in a game where he has already proved himself to be above the necessary standard.
If Brendan Rodgers does plan on playing Ibe regularly in the first-team, which seems unlikely given the competition in the side, then it would have been worth the recall. However, if he has been brought back to play among the Under-21 side and make cameo appearances then it’s hard to see just why he’s made the call to bring him back as it could arguably stunt the player's progression.