Much like his club mate Raheem Sterling did a couple of seasons ago, Liverpool's Jordon Ibe has seemingly come from nowhere to seize a first team spot in Brendan Rodgers' side this year, which has coincidentally seen the Reds enjoy their best form of the season.
Despite being a winger, Ibe has shone in a right wing-back position, and since making his first start in the 0-0 derby draw with Everton, has been both a defensive and offensive weapon for Liverpool.
Ibe had already enjoyed a strong first half of the season on loan at Derby, before Rodgers recalled him, and such is the youngster's sudden rise to prominence that he has yet to win an Under-21 cap. In his limited Premier League game time, he has posted impressive stats in a variety of attacking and defending areas, and given that right-back is a problem area for England, Ibe may see his versatility tested further with a call up to Roy Hodgson's squad.
With the Express claiming that Nigeria are trying to recruit the 19-year-old into their international set-up, England boss Hodgson may be especially tempted to call the former Wycombe Wanderers youngster up to keep the promising player in the Three Lions picture. A home game with Lithuania and a friendly with Italy at the end of March should be the ideal time to blood the young players Hodgson sees fit.
But given the strength of Ibe's performances, he may even be demonstrating signs that he deserves a call-up aside from such a tug-of-war over his international allegiance, so below we look at how he has compared to other possible England right backs in his few, but eye-catching performances this season.
|Team||Minutes per Duel for Possession Won||Minutes per Interception Won||Minutes per Beat Man||Minutes per Total Cross||Minutes per Accurate Pass||Passing Accuracy||Apps||Mins Played|
Though Ibe only has Premier League starts to his name, the fact he has been one of the best players on the pitch in each game demands he be considered as a genuine prospect for England, especially considering the matches were against Everton, Spurs and Southampton.
Compared to Kyle Walker and Nathaniel Clyne, perhaps England's two other favoured prospects on the right side of defence, and other options Calum Chambers and Glen Johnson, Ibe has a stronger minutes per ground duel for possession won, while also registering the strongest crossing statistics.
But where Ibe really excels is his astonishing ability to dribble past his man, something he has managed more than once every 20 minutes, putting him way ahead of his rivals. The fact he has the best passing percentage is also notable given his youth and relative inexperience at Premier League level. The data above proves that he is valuable both from a defensive and offensive perspective - meaning he could be a genuine option as an attacking full-back, even if he eventually establishes himself further forward.
Of course it is important to state that Ibe's career is very much in its infancy, while also considering that expecting too much too soon of young players can be more destructive than constructive. However, if players are good enough and full of promise, it is easy to understand why they may be given a chance, and Jordon Ibe looks like a player with an outstanding career ahead of him.