Despite being considered one of the brightest prospects in English football, 16-year-old winger Jordon Ibe has yet to appear for England internationally at any level. That could all change today when England's U18 side take on Italy, with Ibe having been called up by manager Noel Blake for one of the two friendlies played each season at the non-competitive U18 level that helps to bridge the gap between the U17 and U19 sides that compete for international titles.
As such, there's little riding on the game outside of pride for those watching. For the players, though, it's a chance to impress Blake—who also manages England's U19s—in the hopes of earning the call-up to a competitive match at the next level. And even if Ibe doesn't manage to find his way into the U19 side soon, mirroring Raheem Sterling's rapid rise up England's international ranks this season, a chance to compete in the future at least at the U17 level now seems assured.
After arriving from Wycombe earlier in the year, most of Ibe's time at Liverpool has been split between the U18s and—this season—Liverpool's U21s and the U19 NextGen Series squad. He was, however, brought along on the senior pre-season tour for experience and saw a half of action against Toronto FC in Brendan Rodgers' first game in charge while many of his more experienced teammates were still on their summer breaks following the European Championships.
In past years Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Phil Jones, and Chris Smalling have all made their England debuts with the U18 side.