At a mere seventeen years-old, Jordon Ibe — E-Bay, Eye-Bee, Eyb, the jury's still out — still has a lot of growing to do, but after but after an exciting debut last season against Queens Park Rangers followed by a goal in Saturday's friendly against Preston North End, the winger spoke enthusiastically about the work Brendan Rodgers has done with him to help his game.
"He's told me if I get the chance to shoot to take it and to make my decisions earlier," Ibe said. "He's been helping me throughout the game. I took my time with the shot and just waited for it to cross the line and when it did I just felt so happy. I didn't have a celebration so I just put my hands in front of my face. I was so relieved, and I looked at Brendan."
"Obviously I've still got a lot to learn, especially with my defending," the teenager continued, "but the gaffer's helping me a lot especially what to do when I don't have the ball. He's showing me how to come to tuck in and watch the full-back and centre-back, knowing what to do when I haven't got the ball."
Ibe's minutes with the first team this season are likely to be fairly restricted, so being able to convert on some of the precious moments he does spend with the senior team will be extra meaningful for the player. The club depart on their tour of the Pacific Rim shortly, and Ibe and a few of his lucky friends will be along for the trip. As much as such a tour might be written off as a glorified branding exercise, it's a great opportunity to see the next generation of homegrown talent and for those players to play with the first team in front of the biggest crowds thus far in their short careers.
Ibe still has several more years before he should be ready for regular first team action — enough time to improve his goal celebration technique, possibly under the tutelage of Daniel Sturridge — but based on a very small sample size, early returns are encouraging.